Voting Rights Act

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 ( German Voting Rights Act of 1965) is an American federal law , the equal participation of minorities, especially African Americans is to ensure, to U.S. elections.

Specifically managed illiteracy from tests for potential voters, ban gerrymandering if it disadvantaged minorities, centralized voter registration at the federal level in areas where less than 50% of residents were registered voters and gave the U.S. Department of Justice, various rights of control over the electoral law in areas where African Americans make up more than 5% of the population.

The law passed both houses of Congress by a large majority, was by then President Lyndon B. Johnson on 6 August 1965 and signed in 1970, 1975, 1982 and 2006 renewed by Congress.

In June 2013, the raising of the United States Supreme Court in paragraph 4b of the Act, which defines the states and counties whose election requires a prior authorization under section 4a of the Act.


The law responded to the fact that literacy tests and other local measures were used mainly in the southern states to systematically exclude poorer and less educated on average African Americans from the election. Since the election laws are not regulated in the United States generally at the federal level and the often segregation favorable Southern Democrats in the southern states had stable majorities in the state organs, had this many opportunities to circumvent the provisions of the Constitution or weaken that of discrimination African Americans prohibited. Ensure the equality of suffrage, was one of the main demands of the American civil rights movement .

Generally there are in the United States is no “right to choose” the right to vote is a legal privilege assigned by the State. Together with three additional items to the Constitution has led to the Voting Rights Act Supreme Court a fundamental right (fundamental right) has found to have voting rights. Restrictions of the right to vote are not ruled, but require detailed constitutional analysis.

Johnson gave the law to Congress on 17 März in 1965. After an unsuccessful filibuster attempt in the Senate approved it on 25 of these May of that year, the House of Representatives on 10 July. Since U.S. law by both chambers of Congress must be adopted verbatim in both chambers and various amendments were made, the law went to the Conciliation Committee, which developed a consensus version. The House of Representatives passed the bill on 3 August 1965, the Senate on 4 August and the U.S. President signed it on 6 August.

Original draft:

Senate: 77-19

Democrats: 47-17
Republicans: 30-2

House: 333-85

Democrats: 221-61
Republicans: 112-24

Consensus version:

Senate: 79-18

Democrats: 49-17
Republicans: 30-1

House: 328-74

Democrats: 217-54
Republicans: 111-20


Congress passed the Voting Rights Act only temporary, so he had to renew it in 1970, 1975 and 1982. 1982 and 2006 he extended it for another 25 years each. [1]

Under Section 5 of the Act, the United States Department of Justice has any attempt voting rights in designated areas (covered jurisdictions) to modify, share (preclear). It must be the organization that wants to change the electoral law, to prove that this change is not intended to exclude minorities from voting.
Areas that needed a release

South Carolina
Virginia , except Fairfax , Frederick County and Shenandoah County
Individual counties in California, Florida, New York, North Carolina, and South Dakota, and some cities in Michigan and New Hampshire.

Repeal of section 4 by the Supreme Court

The regulation which states, counties and municipalities require a release was on 24 June 2013 by the Supreme Court of the United States explained in the case of Shelby County v. Holder invalid. [2] In the five-denominated against four judges votes judgment, the Court argued that the determination of which administrative units require a release of the federal government, is no longer appropriate . The conditions in those regions have changed greatly since the 1960s, so the scheme is no longer justified. In fact, this allocation was not renewed since the extension of 1975. The verdict was met with civil rights activists with strong criticism, including U.S. President Barack Obama extreme disappointment to the judgment. Other voices, however, see the rights of individual states strengthened by the judgment. However, the court also made it clear that the state supervision of the election law, as determined by the Voting Rights Act, to be still be valid. The decision to touch “in no way permanent nationwide ban racial discrimination in voting,” the Supreme Court, the judges called in their judgment Congress to set out to find a new contemporary arrangements for the supervision of the electoral law. [3] [4 ] In a dissenting opinion overruled the judge called Ruth Bader Ginsburg , the judgment as hubris , as it is the separation of powers massively violated. It is for the Congress to make the laws and the Voting Rights Act to have regularly confirmed with an adjusted in each case to the altered conditions. The court was not entitled to reserve a part of the law because it put itself in place of the Congress and would decide how the law would have to be adapted. [5]

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