NC Directly Affected by Supreme Ct. Ruling on Voting Rights Act
7:05pm Jun 25, 2013
North Carolina is among the states affected directly by the Supreme Court's decision to strike down part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The provision struck down Tuesday was based on African American voter registration and discriminatory voting practices such as literacy tests.
John Dinan, professor of politics at Wake Forest University, says 40 of the state's 100 counties are currently covered under the voting rights act. "The effect of the decision is that covered counties no longer need to seek pre-clearance or permission ahead of time from federal officials before making any changes to voting and election rules."
NC Senate Rules Committee Chairman Tom Apodaca says a voter ID bill approved by the House in April sat in his committee while Senate leaders waited for today's ruling, but will now move forward. Dinan says we will soon start seeing practical consequences of the Supreme Court's decision in the 40 counties previously restricted by the Voting Rights Act.
"The legislature's been considering making changes to Guilford county's school board districts and election procedures," he says. "Prior to today's decision, that change could only take effect after the justice department reviewed and gave its approval to that. After today's decision, there's no longer any requirement that any legislative changes to Guilford County's school board election districts or laws require any pre-approval."
Dinan says now it will be the responsibility of citizens or the federal government to prove that laws, once enacted, are discriminatory. He says the Supreme Court's ruling leaves open the possibility of action in Congress, but considering the atmosphere there, that's unlikely to happen anytime soon.