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If Section 5 Falls: New Voting Implications

If Section 5 Falls: New Voting Implications

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Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act has been crucial to challenging restrictive laws and protecting minority voting rights. If the Supreme Court were to eliminate or weaken Section 5, states might try to push a wave of discriminatory voting measures that were previously blocked or deterred by the law.
Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act has been crucial to challenging restrictive laws and protecting minority voting rights. If the Supreme Court were to eliminate or weaken Section 5, states might try to push a wave of discriminatory voting measures that were previously blocked or deterred by the law.

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Published by: The Brennan Center for Justice on Jun 11, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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If Section 5 Falls:New Voting Implications
By Myrna Pérez and Vishal Agraharkar 
Brennan Center for Justice
at New York University School of Law 
Te Brennan Center or Justice at NYU School o Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that seeks to improveour systems o democracy and justice. We work to hold our political institutions and laws accountable to the twin American ideals o democracy and equal justice or all. Te Centers work ranges rom voting rights to campaignnance reorm, rom racial justice in criminal law to Constitutional protection in the ght against terrorism. A singular institution — part think tank, part public interest law rm, part advocacy group, part communicationshub — the Brennan Center seeks meaningul, measurable change in the systems by which our nation is governed.
Te Brennan Center’s Democracy Program works to repair the broken systems o American democracy. Weencourage broad citizen participation by promoting voting and campaign reorm. We work to secure air courtsand to advance a First Amendment jurisprudence that puts the rights o citizens — not special interests — at thecenter o our democracy. We collaborate with grassroots groups, advocacy organizations, and government ocials toeliminate the obstacles to an efective democracy.
Te Brennan Center grateully acknowledges the Democracy Alliance Partners, Educational Foundation o America,Te Ralph and Fanny Ellison Charitable rust, Ford Foundation, Anne Gumowitz, Irving Harris Foundation, Te Joyce Foundation, Te JPB Foundation, William Louis-Dreyus, John D. and Catherine . MacArthur Foundation,Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Rockeeller Family Fund, Bernard and Anne Spitzer, VitalProjects Fund, and the William B. Wiener Jr. Foundation or their generous support o our voting work.Te authors are incredibly grateul to the voting rights experts who contributed insight and analysis to this report.Tese include Anita Earls and Allison Riggs o the Southern Coalition or Social Justice, Robert Kengle and Mark Posner o the Lawyers’ Committee or Civil Rights Under Law, Julie Fernandes o Open Society Foundations,Laughlin McDonald and Nancy Abudu o the American Civil Liberties Union, J. Gerald Hebert o the CampaignLegal Center, Armand Derner, John Ruof, Edward Still, and Jerry Wilson. Many Brennan Center staf memberscontributed to this analysis. Te authors would like to ofer special thanks to Voting Rights Researcher ChristopherFamighetti and Research Associate Lucy Zhou or their extensive research, drating, and editing assistance, as well asResearch Associates Amanda Melillo and Carson Whitelemons.Te authors would also like to thank Michael Waldman, Jeanine Plant-Chirlin, Erik Opsal, and Jim Lyons or theirinvaluable editorial assistance. Legal interns Sam Barr, Matt Longobardi, and Adrienne Warrell are owed a debt a gratitude or their many hours o research and cite-checking o this report. Legal interns Robin Lipp, AbrahamRubert-Schewel, and Marissa Malouf deserve additional recognitions or going above and beyond the call o duty in their research and cite-checking. A special thank you is also owed to Democracy Program Director Wendy Weiseror her leadership, vision, and strategic insight throughout the drating process.
© 2013. Tis paper is covered by the Creative Commons “Attribution-No Derivs-NonCommercial” license (see http://creativecommons.org). It may be reproduced in its entirety as long as the Brennan Center or Justice at NYU School o Law iscredited, a link to the Center’s web pages is provided, and no charge is imposed. Te paper may not be reproduced in part orin altered orm, or i a ee is charged, without the Center’s permission. Please let the Center know i you reprint.
Myrna Pérez 
is a Deputy Director or the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center or Justice, ocusing on a variety o voting rights and election administration issues including redistricting, voter registration listmaintenance, and access to the ballot box. Prior to joining the Center, Ms. Pérez was the Civil Rights Fellow atRelman & Dane, a civil rights law rm in Washington, D.C. Ms. Pérez graduated rom Columbia Law Schoolin 2003, where she was a Lowenstein Public Interest Fellow. Following law school, Ms. Pérez clerked or theHonorable Anita B. Brody o the United States District Court or the Eastern District o Pennsylvania and orthe Honorable Julio M. Fuentes o the United States Court o Appeals or the Tird Circuit.Ms. Pérez earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science rom Yale University in 1996. She obtained a master’s degree in public policy rom Harvard Universitys Kennedy School o Government in 1998, where she was the recipient o the Robert F. Kennedy Award or Excellence in Public Service. Prior to law school, she was a Presidential Management Fellow, serving as a policy analyst or the United States Government Accounting Ofce where she covered a range o issues including housing and health care.
 Vishal Agraharkar
serves as counsel or the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. He also previously servedas Pro Bono Counsel or the Democracy Program, where his work ocused on voting rights and elections. Priorto joining the Brennan Center, Mr. Agraharkar clerked or the Honorable Helene N. White o the Sixth CircuitCourt o Appeals. Mr. Agraharkar earned his J.D. (2010) rom Columbia Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chie o A Jailhouse Lawyer’s Manual. He earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science rom WilliamsCollege in 2005.

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