One year after the Supreme Court struck down section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, Congress is nowhere near close to moving forward with restoring a federal approval requirement for certain voting process changes. While Democratic leaders rallied this week to urge Congress to pass the Voting Rights Amendment Act — a law to rewrite the section 4 formula — a top House Republican said Thursday the bill wasn’t going to move quickly, if at all. The VRAA, written by Wisconsin Republican Jim Sensenbrenner and Michigan Democrat John Conyers, is viewed in Congress and by outside advocates as the best chance to reinstate some of the provisions. Section 4 was the formula used to determine which states needs pre-clearance from the federal government for changes to their voting laws. The Supreme Court ruled that the formula was outdated and Congress could come up with a new one.
Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, whose committee would be in charge of moving the bill, told reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor that there was no real urgency to address the changes made by the court and he would “examine carefully” any bill on the Voting Rights Act.
“His bill is one of many different ideas and suggestions on addressing this issue. And there’s a great deal of dispute in many quarters on how this should be addressed and of course, and whether it should be addressed,” Goodlatte said. “We’re going to continue to examine the problem but that’s as far as we’ve got.”