National: Southern Discomfort: Republican voter ID initiatives are making it hard to rebrand the GOP as open to black voters | Slate Magazine

On Monday, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed an omnibus voting standards bill into law. In a video message, he talked only about the voter ID portion of the law and assured citizens that only “the extreme left” opposed the law, for its usual crazy, extreme reasons. He neglected to mention that he’d just cut back on same-day registration and in-person early voting. Hours later the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People sued the governor, arguing that he and legislators had “evidence that African-Americans used early voting, same-day voter registration, and out-of precinct voting at higher rates than white voters.” On Wednesday, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul spoke at the Louisville Forum and fielded a question about voter ID bills. “The interesting thing about voting patterns now,” offered Paul, “is in this last election African-Americans voted at a higher percentage than whites in almost every one of the states that were under the special provisions of the federal government. So really, I don’t think there is objective evidence that we’re precluding African-Americans from voting any longer.” While Paul was speaking, the Republican National Committee announced a special 50th-anniversary commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. It would take place a few blocks from the Capitol, and feature the party’s lone black member of Congress, state legislators from Oklahoma and Louisiana, the party’s black committee members, and two once-rising black Republican stars who lost their last elections.

National: Congress Shows No Urgency on Voting Rights Act | Alaska Public Media

In June, the United States Supreme Court struck down a key formula of the Voting Rights Act. Section IV of the 1965 law determined which states needed to get federal approval before changing any voting laws. Alaska was one of nine states subject to that rule known as preclearance. Immediately following the ruling, a frustrated Attorney General Eric Holder condemned the decision. “Existing statutes cannot totally fill the void left by today’s Supreme Court ruling,” Holder said. “And I am hopeful new protections can and will pass in this session of Congress.” Congressional action is highly unlikely anytime soon. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his opinion that voter discrimination still exists. The court did not invalidate the entire act, just the formula determining which states need federal scrutiny. Those states include Alaska, and there have always been those in the states who have thought that was unfair, including Governor Sean Parnell, who ordered the state to join the lawsuit against it.

National: John Lewis: Still Marching on Washington, 50 Years Later | New York Times

John Lewis was the 23-year-old son of Alabama sharecroppers and already a veteran of the civil rights movement when he came to the capital 50 years ago this month to deliver a fiery call for justice on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. As we prepare to cover the anniversary of the march and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s beloved “I Have a Dream” address, we want to hear from people who were there. Mr. Lewis’s urgent cry — “We want our freedom, and we want it now!” — was eclipsed on the steps that day by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. But two years later, after Alabama State Police officers beat him and fractured his skull while he led a march in Selma, he was back in Washington to witness President Lyndon B. Johnson sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Today Mr. Lewis is a congressman from Georgia and the sole surviving speaker from the March on Washington in August 1963. His history makes him the closest thing to a moral voice in the divided Congress. At 73, he is still battling a half-century later. With the Voting Rights Act in jeopardy now that the Supreme Court has invalidated one of its central provisions, Mr. Lewis, a Democrat, is fighting an uphill battle to reauthorize it. He is using his stature as a civil rights icon to prod colleagues like the Republican leader, Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, to get on board. He has also met with the mother of Trayvon Martin and compared his shooting to the 1955 murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till.

National: Report argues for lifting ban on politics from the pulpit | The Washington Post

Even as polls show Americans broadly oppose electioneering from the pulpit, a new report by a group of faith leaders working closely with Capitol Hill argues for ending the decades-old ban on explicit clergy endorsements. The report being given Wednesday to Sen. Charles E. Grassley — the Iowa Republican whose office for years has been probing potential abuses by tax-exempt groups — comes as the ban has become a culture-war flashpoint. More than 1,100 mostly conservative Christian pastors for the past few springs have been explicitly preaching politics — they call the annual event “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” — in an effort to lure the Internal Revenue Service into a court showdown. Meanwhile, groups that favor a strong church-state separation are going to courtto demand that the IRS more aggressively enforce the ban that dates to 1954.

National: The coming war over voting rights | Politico.com

State lawmakers from around the country crowded into a packed room Monday at the meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures to learn more about the impact of the Supreme Court’s recent decision striking down the Voting Rights Act as activists gear up for a new battle over the ballot box. The panelists that led at the NCSCL gathering in Atlanta said there’s so much interest in possible voting changes that more chairs had to be brought in for the larger-than-expected crowd that topped 100. With legislatures in most states out session at the time, both sides – those who favor additional restrictions and those want to stop any such efforts – are planning for what could be a long and complicated fight in the months ahead – from the Statehouse to the town council. “It’s a quiet before the storm period, and it’s hard to tell when the storm is going to hit,” attorney Jeffrey M. Wice told POLITICO after the panel. “No one expects Congress to act, and there’s also a wait and see approach to see how far think tanks and legal defense organizations go to bring lawsuits to expand [VRA] challenges.”

National: GOP’s Eric Cantor is Democrats’ unlikely ally on Voting Rights Act | The Hill

House Democrats hoping to restore the Voting Rights Act (VRA) have an unlikely ally in House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). While other GOP leaders have shown little enthusiasm for replacing the anti-discrimination protections the Supreme Court snipped this summer from the landmark civil rights law, Cantor is already talking to prominent Democrats about doing just that. “We’ve had a one-on-one; it went very well,” Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) told The Hill last Friday, as Congress was leaving town for a five-week recess. Asked if Cantor is eyeing a legislative fix that would satisfy Democrats, Lewis didn’t hesitate. “Yes, yes, by all means,” he said.

National: Clinton Calls for Action to Protect Voter Rights | New York Times

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton waded into the battle over voting rights on Monday in the first of a series of speeches in which she says she plans to address some of the most pressing issues in Washington. Mrs. Clinton, in remarks delivered at the American Bar Associationconference here, condemned the recent Supreme Court ruling on the Voting Rights Act, which has paved the way for states to pass laws that would require voters to present government-issued photo identification at the polls. Mrs. Clinton, like many Democrats and voting rights groups, argued that the court’s ruling would limit voters’ participation, particularly among minorities, the poor and younger voters who disproportionately cast their ballots for Democrats. Texas, Mississippi and Alabama all announced that they would move ahead with strict voter identification requirements, and on Monday, Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina signed a similar measure.

National: Futuristic voting is on the way, presidential panel told | The Washington Post

Voters could one day print ballots at home like airline boarding passes, or skip traditional precincts for weekend voting at vote centers. But first, elections administrators nationwide must stop trying to fix problems of the past and focus on innovations, a panel of Western elections officials said Thursday before a presidential commission touring the nation looking for ways to improve voting. Elections officers from California, Colorado, Oregon and New Mexico laid out ideas to slash wait times and bring vote procedures into the Internet age. They said advances are possible without alienating older voters and people who don’t want to give up in-person Election Day voting. Los Angeles County is developing new voting machines that can “read” ballots printed at home, similar to checking in for a flight at airports. Oregon’s elections chief talked up the possibility of voters receiving bar-coded ballots on email and returning them in person, like returning a rented movie to Redbox.

National: I Flirt and Tweet. Follow Me at #Socialbot. | New York Times

From the earliest days of the Internet, robotic programs, or bots, have been trying to pass themselves off as human. Chatbots greet users when they enter an online chat room, for example, or kick them out when they get obnoxious. More insidiously, spambots indiscriminately churn out e-mails advertising miracle stocks and unattended bank accounts in Nigeria. Bimbots deploy photos of gorgeous women to hawk work-from-home job ploys and illegal pharmaceuticals. Now come socialbots. These automated charlatans are programmed to tweet and retweet. They have quirks, life histories and the gift of gab. Many of them have built-in databases of current events, so they can piece together phrases that seem relevant to their target audience. They have sleep-wake cycles so their fakery is more convincing, making them less prone to repetitive patterns that flag them as mere programs. Some have even been souped up by so-called persona management software, which makes them seem more real by adding matching Facebook, Reddit or Foursquare accounts, giving them an online footprint over time as they amass friends and like-minded followers. Researchers say this new breed of bots is being designed not just with greater sophistication but also with grander goals: to sway elections, to influence the stock market, to attack governments, even to flirt with people and one another.

National: After Shelby, Voting-Law Changes Come One Town at a Time | Frontline

Just over a month after the Supreme Court overturned a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, seven states — five of which were covered under the law — are moving ahead with voting changes that could affect the 2014 Congressional election. The Justice Department has sued Texas to prevent new voting changes and threatened to step in elsewhere. But the battle for the ballot box isn’t going to be waged on the national level, or even the state level, voting-rights advocates say. It’s going to be fought in cities and small towns, at the level of county seats, school boards and city councils. That’s where 85 percent of the DOJ’s Section 5 objections have been under the Voting Rights Act since it was passed. And that’s where legal challenges, the only remaining remedy to fight voter discrimination, are likely to take place, said Dale Ho, head of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. “That’s what we’re really worried about,” Ho said, adding: “I need more lawyers.”

National: FEC chair requests probe of agency’s ties with IRS | Washington Post

The Federal Election Commission’s lead member has called for an inspector general’s review to help determine whether the FEC coordinated with the Internal Revenue Service in targeting groups based on their political beliefs. FEC chairman Ellen L. Weintraub said her decision came in response to a request last week from Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.), the head of the House Administration Committee, who asked the agency to hand over all of its communications with the IRS since 2008. Reps. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Charles Boustany (D-La.) made a similar request to acting IRS chief Daniel Werfel after publishing e-mails showing that Lois Lerner, the embattled former head of the agency’s exempt-organizations division, acknowledged possibly telling an FEC lawyer that a group did not appear on a publicly available list of tax-exempt groups. Federal law prohibits the IRS from releasing information about organizations that have been denied, but it can publish information about approved groups.

National: Historic Civil Rights Act of 1965 Celebrates a Bittersweet Birthday | BET

It was 48 years ago today when the nation saw a landmark piece of civil rights legislation go into effect with the enacting of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Enacted in the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson, it was an act that sought to address and curtail discrimination that had existed in the United States, particularly in many of the states in the South, including many provisions to make voting more accessible for African-American citizens. The Voting Rights Act became most notable for establishing federal oversight of elections administration. It carried a key provision that prohibited various states from enacting any changes in voting laws without first obtaining approval from the Department of Justice, a process known as pre-clearance. It is that pre-clearance provision, known as Section 5 of the Act, that has long been the most controversial component of the act. The opposition to the measure grew steadily over the years, namely from Republican members of Congress who complained that it carried an unfair burden on election laws in their areas.

National: Open Source Voting Machine Reborn After 6-Year War With IRS | Wired.com

In 2006, John Seles and Gregory Miller hatched a plan to rescue democracy. At the time, the United States was pumping nearly $4 billion into new voting machines, spurred on by Florida’s 2000 presidential election fiasco. But the shift to machines built by companies such as Election Systems & Software and Sequoia Voting Systems (now called Dominion Voting Systems) had introduced all sorts of new problems. Academics were finding deep flaws in the systems, and during every election, they seemed to fail somewhere. Earlier in 2006, voting machine problems marred primary elections in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, where officials scrambled to hire temp workers to reprocess thousands of unreadable optical-scan ballots. For Seles and Miller, the answer was open source software. As employees at Netscape in the late 1990s, they had helped usher in the internet age, and now they were eying another tech revolution. Voting machines seemed to be a perfect place for open source software to do what it does best: create standard pieces of technology everyone can freely share, review, and improve.

National: How far will the Justice Department go over voting rights? | Stateline

The glee in Republican-controlled states after the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Act ruling in June may give way to a different feeling for state officials: The crushing weight of a full legal offensive from the U.S. Justice Department. Attorney General Eric Holder is moving aggressively to renew federal control over Texas elections, even without the crucial legal lever the court eliminated. And Texas might be just the beginning. The court invalidated Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which required places with a history of discrimination to get any elections changes — everything from the location of polling places to voter ID laws — preapproved by a federal court or the Justice Department. All or parts of 16 states, mainly in the South, were bound by the so-called “preclearance” requirement.

National: Dead people gave nearly $600K to campaigns since 2009 | Detroit Free Press

The dead can’t vote, but they can give money to politicians. Thirty-two people listed on federal campaign records as deceased have contributed more than $586,000 to political parties and congressional and presidential candidates since Jan. 1, 2009, a USA TODAY review of Federal Election Commission filings found. Last week, news emerged of a possible donation by a deceased contributor in a high-profile Senate race. A Super PAC aiding Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s re-election reported Wednesday that it had received a $100,000 contribution from Houston home builder and GOP mega-donor Bob Perry on June 3 — nearly two months after his April 13 death. Officials with the Super PAC Kentuckians for Strong Leadership said a computer-software glitch inserted the wrong contribution date. The group quickly submitted a new report to the Election Commission showing that the donation had been received the day before Perry died.

National: Sensenbrenner Sees GOP Support to Rewrite Voting Law | CQ.com

Although many congressional Republicans so far have been noncommittal about rewriting an invalidated section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner said Wednesday that “a lot” of them want to do so. Sensenbrenner is the most prominent among a small number of GOP lawmakers who have urged a congressional rewrite of the statute after the Supreme Court partially struck it down in June. But that doesn’t mean other Republicans are not willing to join him in his effort, he told CQ Roll Call in an interview. “There are a lot of Republicans who are [on board], but they don’t want to be publicly named,” said Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., a former Judiciary Committee chairman and architect of the 2006 compromise to reauthorize the voting law. “There’s a lot of pressure, and I’m happy to take that.” Sensenbrenner said he has “no idea” when the first legislative language of a rewrite might appear, but said “we’re going to start talking about drafts after the recess.” He and other negotiators — including two Democratic working groups in the House — will need to address two basic questions, he said.

National: Next Citizens United? McCutcheon Supreme Court Case Targets Campaign Contribution Limits | Huffington Post

The next big campaign finance case to go before the Supreme Court began in February 2012 in the grand ballroom at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel during the “Ronald Reagan Banquet” at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Alabama electrical engineer and budding political donor Shaun McCutcheon broached a problem in conversation with conservative election lawyer Dan Backer, who one day earlier had led a CPAC panel on rolling back campaign finance laws in which he predicted that campaign contribution limits would soon rise. McCutcheon had recently learned there were overall federal campaign contribution limits on what a single donor could give during a two-year election cycle. He voiced his annoyance to Backer and wondered if he could just ignore the aggregate limits — something that a few dozen donors wound up doing, whether deliberately or inadvertently, in the 2012 election.

National: Obama Reassures Leaders on Enforcing Voting Rights | New York Times

Days after his administration filed suit against Texas to protect minority voters, President Obama told civil rights leaders and local officials on Monday that the federal government would vigorously enforce voting rights in the country despite a Supreme Court ruling against a core section of a landmark 1965 law, several participants said after a White House meeting. “The president said that the Voting Rights Act is not dead, it’s not even critical, it’s just wounded,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist and MSNBC talk show host. “He was very reassuring,” Mr. Sharpton added. Mr. Obama met with the group for about 40 minutes, and administration officials led by the attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., met with the group for a bit longer. The administration was addressing what Mr. Sharpton described as the civil rights community’s “alarm” over the court’s 5-to-4 vote last month. In that case, Shelby County v. Holder, the majority struck down as outdated and unnecessary the law’s language requiring that the federal government review and clear any changes in election laws in nine states, most of them in the South.

National: Obama vows fight on voting rights | Washington Times

President Obama told a gathering of civil rights leaders at the White House on Monday that his administration is committed to restoring legal protections for minority voting, and a Florida legislator who attended the meeting said his colleagues are motivated by the knowledge that slain black Florida teen Trayvon Martin would have been eligible to vote next year. The president and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. assured the group that they will work on a legislative response to the Supreme Court’s decision in June that struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, a key section that the administration said was needed to combat discrimination in targeted states and districts. That provision required states with a history of voting discrimination to submit any changes on election law to the Justice Department for approval.

National: Obama pledges to strengthen Voting Rights Act | USAToday

President Obama told civil rights leaders Monday that his administration would work to strengthen the Voting Rights Act in light of a Supreme Court decision striking down a key provision. After a White House meeting with more than a dozen attorneys, state lawmakers and civil rights activists, Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett tweeted that the administration wants “to ensure every eligible American has the right to vote.” The meeting came a month after the Supreme Court struck down the provision that required the federal government to pre-clear changes to voting systems in states that have a history of racial discrimination, mostly in the South.

National: Holder sees defense of civil rights as his legacy | The Washington Post

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. was getting ready to give a speech at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin when he glanced up at a giant video screen where old photographs of Johnson were being displayed. He was taken aback by what he saw. In an image that captured the historic day the president signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a young woman was standing nearby whose face Holder recognized immediately: his late sister-in-law, Vivian Malone, one of two young students who had walked past Gov. George Wallace in 1963 to integrate the University of Alabama.

National: New war begins: Beating voting rights bigots | Salon.com

With North Carolina GOP Gov. Patrick McCrory ready to sign the most restrictive voting rights bill in generations (though he may not know what’s in it), one influential Republican is backing Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to use a creaky but powerful section of the Voting Rights Act to challenge a similar law in Texas. “The [Justice] department’s actions are consistent with the Voting Rights Act,” Rep. James Sensenbrenner, a VRA reauthorization co-sponsor in 2007, told The Hill last week. “Increased litigation will be one of the major consequences of the court’s decision as courts will have to litigate more allegations of voter discrimination.” Here’s hoping Holder makes North Carolina his next target, if and when McCrory signs the bill. There’s almost no chance he won’t. He’s promised to – although he then had to admit he didn’t know exactly what was in it. McCrory denied it restricted voter registration – although it eliminates same-day voter registration and pre-registration by 17-year-olds who’ll turn 18 by Election Day – insisting “there is plenty of opportunity for voter registration — online, offline, through many methods.”

National: Eric Holder Decides to Mess With Texas | Bloomberg

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has declared that, at least when it comes to voting rights, the U.S. Supreme Court is guilty of wishful thinking. He is also showing both how difficult and how important it is to overcome that kind of thinking. It was just last month that a closely divided court, reasoning that voter discrimination in the South wasn’t the problem it used to be, neutered the requirement that certain states and counties with a history of such discrimination submit proposed voting changes to the federal government for approval. Last week, Holder said the Justice Department would use “every tool at our disposal to stand against discrimination.” Meanwhile, in Texas, officials said they will proceed with a redistricting plan that dilutes Hispanic voting power, and an aggressive voter-identification law besides. And in North Carolina, the Republican-controlled Legislature passed a bill of such brazenness that it can be more aptly described as an attempt to restrict voting procedures rather than reform them. In 2013 alone, more than 80 bills restricting voting rights have been introduced in 31 states. Meanwhile, the incidence of actual voter fraud hovers near zero. (Kansas, site of one of the first coordinated crackdowns on voting rights, has had more documented cases of UFO sightings than of voter fraud.)

National: GOP lawmaker chides FEC for two-year delay in creating enforcement manual | Washington Post

The House Administration committee’s top Republican last week scolded the Federal Election Commission for failing to approve an enforcement manual two years after lawmakers asked the panel to complete the task. “When a federal agency keeps its enforcement policies and procedures secret or makes them difficult to understand, it increases the opportunity for abuse by its employees — abuse that has very real consequences for the Americans subject to its power,” Committee Chairman Candice Miller (Mich.) said in a statement on Friday. In a letter to Miller on Thursday, FEC Chairman Ellen Weintraub raised concerns about dealing with enforcement guidelines while the Senate is considering two new nominees for the commission.

National: Rep. Sensenbrenner: DOJ is legally justified in going after Texas | The Hill

The Obama administration has every right to challenge Texas’ unilateral adoption of new voting laws, a top Republican argued Thursday. Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) said the Voting Rights Act authorizes the Justice Department to seek a court order requiring states to get federal approval before implementing new election procedures, as Attorney General Eric Holder said he will do Thursday in the case of Texas. Holder’s announcement drew howls from Texas Republicans, who are accusing the DOJ of trampling states’ rights and ignoring June’s Supreme Court decision to eliminate a central part of the VRA. But Sensenbrenner, who as head of the House Judiciary Committee in 2006 championed the last VRA reauthorization, suggested those critics have misread his law. “The department’s actions are consistent with the Voting Rights Act,” Sensenbrenner said Thursday in an email.

National: Justice Ginsburg Says Push for Voter ID Laws Predictable | ABC News

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she’s not surprised that Southern states have pushed ahead with tough voter identification laws and other measures since the Supreme Court freed them from strict federal oversight of their elections. Ginsburg said in an interview with The Associated Press that Texas’ decision to implement its voter ID law hours after the court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act last month was powerful evidence of an ongoing need to keep states with a history of voting discrimination from making changes in the way they hold elections without getting advance approval from Washington. The Justice Department said Thursday it would try to bring Texas and other places back under the advance approval requirement through a part of the law that was not challenged.

National: Attorney General opens new front on voting rights protection | Los Angeles Times

Attorney General Eric Holder announced Thursday the Justice Department is opening a new front in the battle for voting rights in response to a Supreme Court ruling that dealt a major setback to voter protections. In a speech to the Urban League in Philadelphia, the attorney general said the Justice Department is asking a federal court in San Antonio to require the state of Texas to obtain approval in advance before putting future voting changes in place. This requirement to obtain “pre-approval” from either the Justice Department or a federal court before making changes to voting laws is available when intentional voting discrimination is found. It is the department’s first action to protect voting rights following the Supreme Court’s decision on June 25, “but it will not be our last,” Holder said in prepared remarks.

National: FEC rules that married gay couples have same rights as straight spouses | Washington Post

The Federal Election Commission said Thursday that legally married gay couples must be treated in the same manner as opposite-sex couples under election law, reversing its previous position in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling last month that struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act. In light of the court’s decision, the election commission said that same-sex spouses can now make a single campaign contribution from a joint bank account if only one spouse has earned the income, as opposite-sex spouses are permitted to do. The commissioners also concluded that gay federal candidates who are legally married can use assets they jointly own with their spouses in their campaigns, and that same-sex spouses are considered family members of gay candidates for purposes of campaign finance rules.

National: Justice Department to take on states over voting rights | McClatchy

The Obama administration announced Thursday that it will legally contest a series of laws around the country as part of an aggressive campaign to fight a recent Supreme Court ruling that it says could reduce minority voting. The Justice Department filed its first challenge Thursday, asking a judge to require Texas to seek permission from the federal government before making voting changes because of the state’s history of discrimination. Several states in the South and Southwest could face similar lawsuits. “This is the department’s first action to protect voting rights following the (Supreme Court) decision, but it will not be our last,” Attorney General Eric Holder said at a National Urban League conference in Philadelphia on Thursday. “My colleagues and I are determined to use every tool at our disposal to stand against discrimination wherever it is found.” Civil rights groups and African-American lawmakers welcomed the decision, as did the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP.

National: Justice Department to challenge states’ voting rights laws | The Washington Post

The Justice Department is preparing to take fresh legal action in a string of voting rights cases across the nation, U.S. officials said, part of a new attempt to blunt the impact of a Supreme Court ruling that the Obama administration has warned will imperil minority representation. The decision to challenge state officials marks an aggressive effort to continue policing voting rights issues and follows a ruling by the court last month that invalidated a critical part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The Justices threw out a part of the act that required certain states with a history of discrimination to be granted Justice Department or court approval before making voting law changes. In the coming weeks, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is expected to announce that the Justice Department is using other sections of the Voting Rights Act to bring lawsuits or take other legal action to prevent states from implementing certain laws, including requirements to present certain kinds of identification in order to vote. The department is also expected to try to force certain states to get approval, or “pre-clearance,” before they can change their election laws.