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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.

In an order issued this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would not hear Kinston, N.C.’s challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

 The Court will nonetheless be considering the merits of Section 5, given its decision on Friday to hear a challenge brought by Shelby County, Alabama.

Section 5 of the VRA requires certain states and jurisdictions to get U.S. Department of Justice preclearance of changes to voting practices.

In Nix, Kinston voters who had approved a 2008 referendum for non-partisan local elections challenged the Justice Department’s refusal to preclear that change, saying that DOJ was using Section 5 in racially divisive ways. Though the Department had initially refused to preclear the change, it ultimately withdrew its objections.

The Court did not comment on why it declined to hear the Nix appeal, but a lower court had already ruled that case to be moot since DOJ had withdrawn its objections.