What the New Voting Rights Act Bill Means

The proposed legislation (Berman summary here, bill text here) is just a first draft, but it shows that a bipartisan Voting Rights Act is possible.  In a nutshell, here’s what it means . . . .

Recent Discrimination:  The new bill responds to the Supreme Court’s Shelby County opinion by tying preclearance to recent instances of discrimination (both with the new coverage formula and enhanced bail-in).

Deterrence:  Pre-Shelby preclearance deterred bad activity in all or parts of 15 states because politicians knew their voting changes would be reviewed.  The new bill will deter bad activity by requiring that states and localities nationwide provide notice of election changes.

Preventing Harm to Voters:  Preclearance stops unfair election rules before they are used in an election and harm voters.  The new bill attempts to stop unfair election rules before they harm voters by making it easier to obtain a preliminary injunction to block unfair rules.

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