Voting Blogs: Voting Rights Debate Promises Burgeoning Partisan Battle | Legally Easy
This year-end, new battles over the Voting Rights Act are emerging, but they are new battles inextricably embedded in the history of discrimination and civil rights. Signed by President Johnson in 1965, Section Five of the Voting Rights Act, requires 16 southern states with a history of discrimination to pre-clear any voting procedure changes with the Justice Department, or a panel of federal judges.
While the provision was reauthorized in 2006 with strong bipartisan support, it is being challenged today in five lawsuits claiming that the United States has reached a level of electoral equality that precludes the need for Section Five. But, as it stands, Section Five still places the sixteen states under the watchful eye of the federal government, and ensures that the burden of proof remains on each jurisdiction to establish that any proposed changes do not have the purpose or effect of discriminating based on race or color.
The situation currently threatening mayhem during the budding 2012 election season is the redistricting of Texas. After the 2010 census, the significant population increase in Texas meant the bestowal of 4 new congressional seats — and an almighty battle for control of these new seats. And consider this: democrats are currently outnumbered 23 to nine in the state’s 32-member U.S. House delegation, and Republicans control both U.S. Senate seats, the governorship, the state Legislature and most statewide offices.