WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government will no longer be able to use what's been its most potent tool to stop voting discrimination over the past half century.
A divided Supreme Court yesterday declared unconstitutional a provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act that required some states to seek federal approval before making any changes to election laws.
The federal government has used the provision since 1965, mainly in the South, to open up polling places to minority voters.
Gloria Sweet-Love, the president of the state chapter of the NAACP, was disappointed by the ruling and believes it sets a dangerous precedent.
“Just a year or so ago, we were fighting all kinds of regressive legislation in our state that tried to inhibit people’s right to go to the polls. From birth-right legislation to the photo ID and all the ramifications of that. When we think about that, we know that we still need some protection of voting rights.”
The voting rights provision struck down yesterday could be reinstated, but only after Congress comes up with a new formula that meets what Chief Justice John Roberts calls "current conditions" in the United States.