Time to Update the Voting Rights Act

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Tim McNulty sends us to Tim Noah, who explains why the federal investigation into PA’s voter ID law isn’t likely to go anywhere:

The feds can look all they want into possible civil rights violations caused by voter ID bills in states like Ohio and Pa, writes Tim Noah at The New Republic, but without updating the Voting Rights Act to make all states subject to preclearance (like those in the South) they probably can’t do anything:

. . . The relevant statute is Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which states: “No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting or standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision in a manner which results in a denial or abridgement of the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.” Sounds like a slam dunk, right? Plus, you don’t even have to prove intent. But “almost all successful Section 2 cases are redistricting-related,” according to Nathaniel Persily of Columbia Law School. “So-called vote denial lawsuits are rare and the legal standard is unclear.” Preisse, even though he had a hand in the decision-making process, is just one person, and that’s “probably not enough,” according to Richard Hasen of University of California Irvine Law School. A couple of experts told me it would be worth a shot bringing a case under the 14th amendment. But it would be a long shot.

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