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.
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.
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.