South Carolina will be one misstep away from renewed federal supervision of its elections if legislation to restore part of the Voting Rights Act becomes law. The bill introduced Thursday would rewrite the rules that would determine which states need strict oversight based on the chance their election-related changes could harm minority voters. The old rules, which applied to South Carolina and all or part of 14 other states, were thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court last year because they were based on outdated voting data.
Under the proposed update, states that violated the federal Voting Rights Act at least five times in the most recent 15-year period would be subject to “pre-clearance.”
That means they would have to prove to the Justice Department or a federal court in advance that any proposed change to their election procedures wouldn’t disenfranchise minority voters. At least one of the five violations would have to be statewide.