My site on Law and Politics.

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Edward Still: Voting Rights Act

For a list of my cases under the Voting Rights Act, go to the Case List page. The Case List page does not list many case which were settled or on which a judge did not write an opinion.  My writings about the Act are here.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is the principal law protecting the voting rights of racial and ethnic minorities. The two principal provisions that are of interest in Alabama are Section 2 and Section 5. Private suits may be brought under either of these provisions.  The website of the Civil Rights Division has more information on the Voting Rights Act. For a short article on the history of the Voting Rights Act, click here.

Section 2 of the Act applies everywhere in the U.S. and forbids most election laws which have a different effect on white voters and racial minorities.

Section 5 of the Act applies in 9 states and parts of 7 others; it requires those jurisdictions to prove to the U.S. Department of Justice that any new voting laws or procedures will not have the effect, and were not passed with the purpose, of discriminating against racial or ethnic minorities. The procedure for submissions by states or localities is found in Justice Department Guidelines.  The Justice Department publishes a weekly list of the submissions is has received and a cumulative list of all submissions pending.

One significant group still prohibited from voting in the United States is made up of former prisoners. About 1/3 of the states prohibit most or all ex-prisoners from ever voting; about 1/3 allow them to vote after completion of their probation and parole; and the remainder allow voting sooner. A campaign to allow ex-felons to return to full citizenship is now under way.  for more details, see the website of Demos.


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