President Barack Obama named voting rights protections as a priority in his State of the Union address Tuesday, but legislation that would restore a key provision of the Voting Rights Act faces tough challenges this Congress. That legislation, called the Voting Rights Amendment Act, would resurrect the 1965 law’s “pre-clearance” provision requiring states with a history of voting discrimination to get federal approval before making any changes in their elections procedures. The Supreme Court ruled in 2013 — in Shelby County vs. Holder — that the formula used to determine which states were subject to pre-clearance was invalid, effectively nullifying the provision itself.
Democrats plan to revive and possibly revise last year’s measures, introduced by Reps. John Conyers, D-Mich., Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. Those proposals went nowhere.
“I’m not going to give up on working on political deals,” said Rep. G. K. Butterfield, D-N.C., chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. “I believe that we can build a coalition.”
But without more support from Republicans, who took control of the Senate and expanded their majority in the House in last year’s elections, this year’s legislation doesn’t stand a chance.
Full Article: Backers of voting rights bill try a new strategy.