Holder: Justice Department Will ‘Vigorously Use’ Voting Rights Act Against States

Matt Cover, CNS News, June 7, 2012

Attorney General Eric Holder told the House Judiciary Committee Thursday that the Justice Department will “vigorously use” anti-Jim Crow provisions in the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to prevent some southern states from purging ineligible voters from their rolls and enacting voter-I.D. laws.

“It is the position of this Department of Justice and certainly this Attorney General that we will vigorously defend and vigorously use Section 5. The need for it is still there.”

Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act requires several southern states and counties in states such as California and Florida to get federal “pre-clearance” before they change any voting eligibility laws or voting requirements or procedures.

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The Justice Department recently cited Section 5 in a letter to the state of Florida ordering it to stop an ongoing effort to purge ineligible voters from its rolls, focusing on illegal immigrants in particular.

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Justice also blocked a South Carolina voter-I.D. law in December 2011, saying it violated Section 5’s prohibition on racially discriminatory voting laws. In March 2012, the department also blocked a Texas voter-I.D. law again saying that the requirement that people show a photo-I.D. to vote was racial discrimination.

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