What Can You Do to Support the Renewal of the Voting Rights Act?

Diffuse myths about the VRA

  • Many have questioned why we don’t simply make the temporary provisions permanent. While this may seem attractive, doing so would actually make it vulnerable to a constitutional challenge and ultimately eliminate the effectiveness of the VRA. Current legal doctrine requires that statutes such as Section 5 that are race conscious be “narrowly tailored” to address the harms they are designed to cure. As a result, many legal experts question whether the federal courts would find a permanent Section 5 to be “narrowly tailored,” such as to survive a constitutional attack.
  • Many have also questioned why we don’t simply make Section 5 nationwide. Similar to the argument against making Section 5 permanent, making it “nationwide” would also make the section vulnerable to constitutional attack as not “narrowly tailored” to address the harms it is designed to cure. Section 5 is directed at jurisdictions with a history of discriminating against minority voters, and expanding it nationwide does not meet this requirement. Moreover, nationwide application of Section 5 would be extremely difficult to administer, given the volume of voting changes that would have to be reviewed. This expansion of coverage would dilute the Department of Justice’s ability to appropriately focus their work on those jurisdictions where there is a history of voting discrimination.

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Take Action

  • If you suspect a violation of the Voting Rights Act has occurred, record the violation, violation date, and where the violation took place. Report the violation to your local voting agency and keep a copy of what you submit for yourself.
  • Call PFAW (1-800-326-7329) to report the violation so that we may also document these problems.

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