US midterm elections and early voting news

The Voting Rights Act of 1965, which serves to protect and enforce the 14th and 15th Amendments, was enacted in the 1960s in response to voter suppression by state governments, local governments, and law enforcement. But throughout its history, parts of it have been challenged and cut – most recently the US Supreme Court heard the final arguments in October of this year.

The first repeal of the Voting Rights Act was in 2013, when the court struck down a preemption system that forced states and jurisdictions with historic racial discrimination and very low voter turnout to clear new voting restrictions with the federal or federal government. Court in Washington, DC.

But in the case of Shelby County v. Holder, Chief Justice John Roberts stated that the formula for determining which states and localities must clear early voting law changes was based on data from 1964, 1968 and 1972.

“Our country has changed,” he wrote, arguing that Congress should come up with a new formula. He never did and efforts to update the law with a new Voting Rights Act named after Rep. John Lewis failed to break a GOP filibuster.

The second repeal of the Voting Rights Act came in 2021. Brnovich v. In the Democratic National Committee case, the Supreme Court upheld provisions of an Arizona law that limited who could collect ballots cast in the wrong precinct and absentee ballots. The decision opened the door to new restrictions in GOP-controlled states and challenged Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act’s protections against denial of the vote, or making it difficult for people to vote.

Now, the court is considering overturning Section 2’s protection against vote dilution, or rendering votes meaningless, with a case involving a state’s congressional map outside of Alabama. More than a quarter of Alabamians are black, but the map created only one majority-black congressional district out of seven in the state. A federal court ruled that the map harmed minority voters, but in a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court allowed the map to remain in place while it reviews the case.

Alabama’s Republican Secretary of State has argued that considering race to draw maps that give power to black voters is discriminatory. A result in favor of Alabama could allow the state to draw congressional lines in a way that minority voters would not have a reasonable chance to gain proportional influence.

Learn more about changes to the Voting Rights Act