For more than 40 years, election officials in Mississippi have had to get permission from the Justice Department before making even small changes in voting procedures – from moving a polling place to changing when a poll opens.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear a challenge to that requirement, which applies to places, mostly in the Deep South, that have a history of racial discrimination.
That challenge to Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act could affect how elections are run in some states. The court’s ruling, expected in June, also could spark lawsuits aimed at preserving or dismantling the law, experts say.
“It is a signal on how the court may view the underlying merits of the Voting Rights Act,” said Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala., who has pushed for more voting rights protections.