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Voting rights preclearance lives

voteIn case you missed it, a federal judge in Alabama reinstated oversight of a city’s voting practices on Monday — the first instance of a court requiring preclearance of election law changes since the U.S. Supreme Court gutted Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act  last June in Shelby v. Holder.

In Allen v. City of Evergreen, U.S. District Judge Callie V. S. Granade used Section 3 of the Act — the so-called “bail-in” provision — to require the small city to submit certain changes to the Justice Department for approval before enacting them into law.

Section 3 relief, which requires a showing of intentional discrimination against minority voters, is also being sought by the parties in the voting rights cases pending here in Greensboro.

As Adam Liptak reported in yesterday’s New York Times:

Evergreen, an enclave of 3,900 people between Mobile and Montgomery, has a troubled history and has in recent years been found to have improperly excluded minority voters from its rolls and redrawn its district lines to concentrate black voters, who are in the majority, into just two of the five districts, limiting black voting power.

The city acknowledged problems with certain of its practices and agreed to the court’s order.

The path to bail-in and preclearance won’t be quite as easy in the cases pending here and in Texas, as the states are fighting that relief.

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