Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Voting and Race

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Voting and Race

Article excerpt

THE VOTING Rights Act of 1965 has withstood legal challenges for nearly 50 years. Not anymore. The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling released Tuesday, struck down a key component of the law.

Section 4 put nine states, and parts of several other states, under federal oversight. The majority of these states are in the South and, when the law was first enacted, there was a compelling need to ensure that all eligible citizens regardless of race could register to vote and have equal access to polling places.

Times have changed, and the high court ruling reflects that. Yet times have not changed enough, and the court ruling, while academically understandable, may create new challenges in practical application. The court upheld the right of the federal government to insert itself into the voting regulations of states. But the court's majority found that the geography of 1965 does not jibe with 2013 and leaves it up to Congress to create guidelines for which states or jurisdictions should be covered. …

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