Title Page

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Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

Contributors

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pp. xii-xiii

Acknowledgments

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p. ix

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Introduction

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pp. xi-xviii

The Voting Rights Act (VRA) is a sacred symbol of American democracy. The act, the most effective civil rights statute ever enacted in the United States, was the last significant stage in the nearly universal formal inclusion of all adult citizens in American democracy. ...

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1. Political Competition and the Modern VRA

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pp. 1-19

Political equality is often viewed as one of the central political and constitutional values, or even the central value itself, that explains and justifies democratic self-government. Theorists seek to deduce, from the value of political equality, numerous and varied implications for the way...

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2. The Law of Preclearance: Enforcing Section 5

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pp. 20-37

In August 2007, several special provisions of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965—the “preclearance” requirement set forth in section 5 of the act, the authority of the Department of Justice to use federal examiners and observers, and protections for the voting rights of language...

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3. Rethinking Section 5

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pp. 38-60

It is hard to believe that section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) was once the crown jewel in one of the most successful regulatory schemes ever promulgated by Congress.1 In the twenty or so years that have elapsed since Congress last extended section...

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4. Trends in Minority Representation, 1974 to 2000

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pp. 61-80

Following the 2000 Census, Georgia redrew its fifty-six state senate districts to comply with the one-person-one-vote rule. At the time, the assembly and senate both had Democratic majorities. The governor, Roy Barnes, was a Democrat as well, and led the charge to construct...

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5. Congressional Power to Renew Preclearance Provisions

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pp. 81-106

In 1965, Congress enacted the Voting Rights Act (42 U.S.C. sec. 1973–1973p). Section 5 of the act requires that “covered jurisdictions” obtain preclearance from the federal government before making any changes in voting practices or procedures. Section 5’s aim was to prevent state...

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6. Does Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act Still Work?

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pp. 107-124

The approaching renewal date for section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) raises questions about both the purpose of the act at this point and the administrative mechanisms the act employs. The legislation was premised on a deep sense of national urgency over the exclusion...

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7. Voting Rights Act Enforcement: Navigating Between High and Low Expectations

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pp. 125-138

The enactment of and subsequent amendments to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) were critical moments in the evolution of contemporary American election law. The VRA’s dramatic impacts upon the transformation of southern politics, the enfranchisement of the...

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8. Reshaping the Tub: The Limits of the VRA for Latino Electoral Politics

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pp. 139-162

The extension of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) to Latinos1 and other language minorities (Asian Americans, American Indians, and Alaskan Natives) in 1975 signals a major transformation in how the national political system responds to its nonwhite ethnic and racial populations. ...

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9. Expanding Coverage of Section 5 in Indian Country

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pp. 163-202

Recent voting rights litigation in Indian country, with its findings of widespread and systematic discrimination against Indians, underscores the need for continuing the special preclearance and language minority provision of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). ...

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10. Election Administration and Voting Rights

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pp. 203-222

In November 2000, Caltech and MIT formed a new venture—the Voting Technology Project. The project, which I headed from its inception through 2004, is a collaborative effort of social scientists and engineers seeking to find solutions to the failures in voting technology observed...

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11. Options and Strategies for Renewal of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act

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pp. 223-241

When originally passed, section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) (U.S.C. 42 secs. 1973b-1973c) represented an extraordinary measure for an extraordinary time. The law remains alone in American history in its intrusiveness on values of federalism and the unique and complicated...

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12. The Coverage Curve: Identifying States at the Bottom of the Class

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pp. 242-254

Determining which jurisdictions must comply with the preclearance provisions is perhaps the most important issue in the debate about whether Congress should renew provisions of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) that expire in 2007.1 ...

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13. Who's Covered? Coverage Formula and Bailout

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pp. 255-276

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 and its extensions are credited with greater participation and more effective representation for minorities. At the same time, several sections of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) apply nationally, and others apply specifically to jurisdictions that meet criteria...

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14. A Third Way: Section 5 and the Opt-in Approach

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pp. 277-310

Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), one of the most powerful weapons in the civil rights arsenal, is scheduled to sunset in 2007. Congress has begun to debate the fate of what may be the most creative and burdensome strategy for protecting racial minorities ever enacted, with...

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15. Extending Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act: The Complex Interaction Between Law and Politics

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pp. 311-339

The renewal of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in 2007 will depend on both politics and the state of the law, and even more upon the peculiar interaction between the two.
Looking at the renewal issue in 2003, when the first draft of this chapter was written, it appeared that the two most important factors affecting renewal were...

Appendix Text of Voting Rights Act (1965)

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pp. 340-351

General Index

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pp. 553-363

Cases Index

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pp. 365-367