U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Key Section of Voting Rights Act
Published June 26th, 2013
GAINESVILLE - It's one of this country's most influential pieces of civil rights legislation. Yet on Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Section 4 of the law required nine states and portions of seven others, including five counties in South Florida, to gain federal approval before making any changes to their voting laws.
But in Tuesday's split decision, the majority of justices declared Section 4 unconstitutional, saying the more than 40-year-old standards for enforcing the law are now outdated.
Until Congress can agree on a new set of standards, virtually every state now has the ability to make changes to their voting laws without having to wait for federal approval.
It's a notion that does not sit well with many, including Diyonne McGraw, president of the Alachua County African American Accountability Alliance, or 4A's. "I was really hurt, deeply saddened, but I'm also motivated," said McGraw. "We have nine states that have a history of discriminating against people, and so I'm really worried about those nine states."
While Florida as a whole was not one of the states required to gain approval from the feds, there are five counties in South Florida that were. As a result, the state had to spend nearly $750,000 to defend an elections law back in 2011, something it's no longer required to do in the wake of this Supreme Court ruling.
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