Originally Posted by swampbabe
Good info. When was the last time that the DOJ forced a change in redistricting? I can't remember one. Preclearance is past its prime.
Intersting fact, black voter turnout is higher in Mississippi than it is in that bastion of liberalism, Massachusetts
The Voting Rights Act is the most effective civil rights laws ever enacted, and it’s something we should all be proud of.
Section 5 is the heart of the Voting Rights Act. It requires covered jurisdictions to submit any proposed changes in voting procedures to the U.S. Department of Justice or a federal district court in D.C. — before it goes into effect — to ensure it does not harm minority voters. This blocks discrimination before it occurs.
Section 5 is an essential and proven tool. Although progress has been made since the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965, voting discrimination still persists. Between 1982 and 2006 (when Congress overwhelmingly renewed the law), the Voting Rights Act blocked more than 1,000 proposed discriminatory voting changes.
Without Section 5’s protection, these changes would have gone into effect and harmed minority voters.
Last time because of redistricting?
The most recent election.
Texas, August 2011
In 2011, Texas lawmakers proposed redrawing political boundaries that would have created four new congressional districts. Despite the substantial growth in Texas’s minority population in the past decade, not one of the new districts created the ability for the Latino or African-American community to elect their candidate of choice. A federal district court found that the maps were enacted to intentionally discriminate against Latino and African-American voters, and Texas’s redistricting proposal was blocked under Section 5.
■ In the maps for Congress, three black Democratic representatives in Houston and Dallas were given new districts that excluded long-established offices where constituent services are provided. No Anglo incumbents were similarly inconvenienced, the court said.
The districts were further harmed when significant economic generators, including large businesses or universities, were relocated to adjacent Anglo districts, Griffith wrote.
"The only explanation Texas offers for this pattern is ‘coincidence.' But if this was coincidence, it was a striking one indeed," Griffith wrote. "It is difficult to believe that pure chance would lead to such results."
■ The Texas Senate map improperly targeted the Fort Worth district represented by Sen. Wendy Davis, a Democrat, by "cracking" the minority population — placing African American and Hispanic voters in three other districts that shared few common interests.
Texas lawyers said the move was best explained by partisan, not racial, goals — a "plausible explanation," Griffith noted, if not for the way the Senate map was drawn.
Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo and chairman of the redistricting committee, escorted many Republican senators into an anteroom off the Senate floor to review drafts of maps. Democrats, and Davis in particular, were excluded from providing input, Griffith wrote.
"One would expect a state that is as experienced with (voting rights) litigation as Texas to have ensured that its redistricting process was beyond reproach," he wrote.
■ The 150 Texas House districts were redrawn without adding one "Hispanic opportunity district" — where Hispanic voters have an opportunity to elect their preferred candidates — despite dramatic growth in the state's Latino population, the court found.
Moving polling places targeting minority voters?
The previous Presidential election
On the topic of college students, they seem to be a group that have had a hard time voting in Pennsylvania historically, especially black college students. After the 2008 presidential elections, when hundreds of students from the HBCU Lincoln University stood up to seven hours in the rain to vote, the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit on their behalf because the county had moved the polling place to a small facility far from Lincoln’s campus. At the university, voter registration drives had anticipated a record turnout for the election that brought about the first African-American president, but Chester County wouldn’t move the polling place to a larger facility on campus that could accommodate the huge swell of new registered voters.
“After voters complained about conditions in the 2008 election, in which some people waited as long as seven hours to vote, the county responded by moving the polling place even further away from campus,” ACLU’s Hoover told me.
They successfully sued the county.
Section 5 challenges from the last 2 census cycles.....
•In 2001, the white mayor and all-white Board of Alderman for the city of Kilmichael, Mississippi attempted to cancel an election shortly after black citizens had become a majority of the registered voters. The Department of Justice denied preclearance under Section 5, finding that the cancelation was designed to worsen the voting strength of African-American voters. The town refused to reschedule the election until the Department of Justice forced it to hold one in 2003, at which time the citizens elected the town’s first African-American mayor and three African-American aldermen.
•After the 2000 Census showed that Latinos had become a majority in five of eight districts, the city of Seguin, Texas proposed dismantling a Latino-majority district. The Department of Justice indicated that preclearance was unlikely, and the city withdrew its preclearance request but promptly closed the candidate filing period to prevent any Latino candidate from competing in the district. A subsequent Section 5 enforcement action blocked this discrimination.
•In 2004, an Asian American candidate ran for city council for the first time in the history of Bayou La Batre, Alabama. The white incumbent and his supporters challenged about 50 Asian-American voters at the polls during the primary elections, claiming that if they “couldn’t speak good English, they possibly weren’t American citizens.” The Department of Justice determined these challenges were race-based . The Department of Justice prohibited the challenges in the 2004 general election because of Section 5. The Asian-American candidate won the council position in that election.
•One week before the New York City primary elections in 2001 — which had been rescheduled after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center — the Board of Elections planned to close a busy poll site in Manhattan's Chinatown without making any announcements in Chinese-language newspapers and without informing limited English proficient voters about this change. The Department of Justice informed the Board that the change could not take effect under Section 5. On primary day, hundreds of votes were cast at the original Chinatown poll site. Without Section 5, many of these voters would have lost their right to vote.
Section 5 blocked a number of disenfranchisement efforts in the 2012 election
Section 5 is still needed to prevent and address real and continuing threats to Americans’ right to vote. States continue to enact laws to restrict minority voting access. Section 5 is a proven remedy to protect voters. In 2012, it blocked a highly-restrictive voter ID laws in Texas and a law in Florida that eliminated early voting days, which would have made it more difficult for hundreds of thousands of minority voters to cast a ballot.
Your final interesting point isn't an argument for disolving Section 5 but maybe for an expansion of Section 3...the "bail-in" mechanism
Another intersting point is that the "bail-out" mechanism allows for the relief Shelby county is seeking....
Before August 1984, this process required covered jurisdictions to demonstrate that the voting test that they used immediately before coverage was not used in a discriminatory fashion. The 1982 amendment included two significant changes. First, Congress provided that where a state is covered in its entirety, individual counties in that state may separately bail out. Second, Congress completely redesigned the bailout standard. The post-1984 bailout standard requires that a covered jurisdiction demonstrate nondiscriminatory behavior during the 10 years prior to filing and while the action is pending and that it has taken affirmative steps to improve minority voting opportunities
On September 22, 2010, the first two jurisdictions outside the state of Virginia—Kings Mountain, North Carolina, and Sandy Springs, Georgia—successfully "bailed out" from Section 5 Preclearance requirements. On November 15, 2012, New Hampshire sued to "bail out" from the requirements, which were originally imposed on ten towns that used a literacy test and had voting disparaties when the Act was passed.
Hey Shelby county...want no preclearance?
Stop discriminating for a 10 year stretch...OK?