The recent Supreme Court decision on the Voting Right Act will have wide repercussions, particularly for Virginia, a state which was previously held to the preclearance requirement that was just struck down on Tuesday.
For those who are unfamiliar with the act, one of the key provisions for deterring and preventing racial discrimination at the polls was a procedure called “preclearance”. Certain states and counties that had a troubled history with discrimination and low turnout at the polls had to have any changes made to their election laws “precleared” by the federal Department of Justice before implementation. These states and counties were identified in 1965, when the Voting Rights Act was first passed, by using a formula based on turnout statistics and the use of voter suppression devices, such as poll taxes or literacy tests. Most of the states and counties identified in 1965 remained under the preclearance requirement until today, including most of Virginia.