Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said Monday he doesn’t expect to bring up legislation to restore the Voting Rights Act, because lots of minority people are already voting. During an event at the National Press Club, Grassley was asked about the committee considering a bill that would fix the landmark 1965 law. The Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the law in 2013, ruling that it needed to be updated. The section determined which states and localities with a history of suppressing minority voters had to get permission from the Justice Department to change their voting laws. The justices instructed Congress to come up with a new formula for designating which regions of the country warrant special scrutiny. Grassley dismissed the idea that there’s a need to act.
“It depends on what you want to fix,” he said. “If you want to fix more minorities voting, more minorities are already voting.” The Iowa senator said the high court “threw out” Section 4, so the only way he’d consider revisiting the issue is if there was “some other reason” to tinker with the law.
… Plenty of lawmakers think it’s crucial to restore the law, and they’ve put forward a bill that responds to the Supreme Court’s directive: It updates Section 4 so it applies to states and jurisdictions that have had voting violations in the past 15 years. Supporters have had a hard time getting Republicans to sign on, though, which prevented the measure from advancing in the last Congress. This year, the House bill has a handful of GOP co-sponsors. A forthcoming Senate bill has none.