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Tue Jan 14, 2014, 11:53 PM

New case on Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act came out today

This is really major news because there have been few cases involving Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act. Section 3 allows the DOJ to have pre-clearance rights over a political jurisdiction if that jurisdiction violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act or other laws. http://www.ballot-access.org/2014/01/u-s-district-court-in-alabama-makes-rare-use-of-section-3-of-the-voting-rights-act/

The most obscure part of the federal Voting Rights Act is Section 3, which says that if a jurisdiction persistently demonstrates a disregard of voting rights for ethnic and racial minorities, it is subject to pre-clearance from the U.S. Justice Department. This section applies to the entire nation, but has almost never been used, because between 1965 and 2013, such jurisdictions were virtually always also required to obtain pre-clearance under Section 5.

On January 13, 2014, a U.S. District Court in Alabama used Section 3 to require the city of Evergreen to obtain approval from the Justice Department, if it makes changes to the voting rolls and also if it makes redistricting changes in its city council elections. The city had been placed under Section 5 in 2012. But in 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court made enforcement of Section 5 impossible, because the Court invalidated Section 4, which is linked to Section 5 and contains the formula to determine which parts of the nation are under Section 5.

The decision is Allen v City of Evergreen, southern district, 13-0107.

The DOJ and the private plaintiffs are suing in both the redistricting case and the voter id case to cause Texas to be subject to Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act. The fact that the DOJ forced a city to agree to be subject to pre-clearance is a big deal and my indicate that the courts are reacting to the SCOTUS' ruling as to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

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Reply New case on Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act came out today (Original post)
Gothmog Jan 2014 OP
Gothmog Jan 2014 #1

Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Wed Jan 15, 2014, 12:22 AM

1. NYT is covering this ruling


WASHINGTON — A federal judge in Alabama on Monday reinstated federal oversight over the voting practices of a city there, in what election law specialists said was the first such move since the Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act in June.

Judge Callie V. S. Granade, of Federal District Court in Mobile, used a mechanism in the law that the Supreme Court had left untouched, Section 3, which allows jurisdictions that have intentionally discriminated against minority voters to be “bailed in” to the oversight requirements.

Relying on Section 3, Judge Granade ordered the city, Evergreen, to submit some changes in voting procedures to the Department of Justice or a federal court for review before they can go into effect.

“This is a major win for the people of Evergreen,” said John K. Tanner, a lawyer for the plaintiffs and a former chief of the Justice Department’s voting section. But he added that piecemeal litigation under Section 3 was no substitute for a general requirement that states and localities designated by Congress be subject to federal oversight.

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