Mississippi’s top election official outlined plans on Tuesday to implement the state’s voter ID law, just hours after the Supreme Court struck down a Voting Rights Act provision that might have blocked the law. Until Tuesday’s court ruling, officials in Mississippi and other states with a history of discrimination were required under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act to get “pre-clearance” from the Justice Department or a federal court before making any change to their voting procedures. But that ended when the court ruled that Section 4 of the 1965 law, which consisted of the formula used to determine which states and other jurisdictions should be subject to Section 5, is outdated and therefore unconstitutional. The 5-4 decision clears the way for more than a dozen states and jurisdictions to move ahead with tougher voter ID laws and other changes that before Tuesday would have been subject to the pre-clearance requirement.
“It levels the playing field for all states,” Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said. “Mississippi has earned and deserves the right to be treated like every other state in their voting process. … We have come a long way in a half-century.”
Elections officials in Texas said Tuesday they also will implement that state’s voter ID law.
Tuesday’s court ruling leaves the door open for Congress to update the Section 4 formula.
Civil rights officials and voting rights advocates fear that in the meantime many states, particularly in the South, will follow Mississippi and pursue possibly discriminatory election measures.
Justice Department officials were reviewing Mississippi’s voter ID law when the Supreme Court issued its ruling. The law requires voters to show a government-issued photo ID at the polls. The Justice Department recently rejected similar laws in other Southern states subject to Section 5.
Full Article: Court ruling clears way for election changes in South.