The Voting Rights Act is forty this year, and in less than two years, several of its key provisions will expire. Perhaps the most important of these expiring provisions is the preclearance mechanism of section 5, a provision that has been hailed as its heart. Because it's not 1965 anymore, one can argue that no compelling reason exists to keep the same "unique and stringent" remedy that section 5 provides in place past 2007. Section 5, as currently written, represents an extraordinary mechanism in our law, as it bars certain (primarily Southern) state and local governments, commonly known as the "covered jurisdictions," from implementing even the most minor of voting changes without federal approval. The aim of this article is to distinguish between congressional and statewide redistricting and the protection needed for minority voters at the local level, contending that protection of minority voting rights in local government represents section 5's most important modern-day function and that local government may not implicate issues raised in relation to congressional and statewide redistricting.
Michael J. Pitts,
Let's Not Call the Whole Thing Off Just Yet: A Response to Samuel Issacharoffs Suggestion to Scuttle Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act,
84 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol84/iss2/6