The Voting Rights Act and New York City

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the way the Voting Rights Act determines which parts of the country need extra scrutiny in their election law. Wendy Weiser, Director of the Democracy Program at NYU's Brennan Center for Justice, explains why three New York City counties (New York, Kings, and the Bronx) were covered by the Voting Rights Act, and what yesterday's decision means for those counties.

Comments [9]


According to a 2006 Latino Justice report : Section 5 coverage to New York’s three covered counties after the Census determinations
following the 1970 Census are also linked to the discrimination that resulted from New
York’s English literacy requirement. By 1971 the U.S. Attorney General determined that
New York’s literacy requirement was a “test or device” under the VRA and the Census
certified that Bronx, Kings and New York counties met the threshold criteria regarding
registration and turnout based on the 1968 elections. New York won a declaratory
judgment exempting it from coverage under Section 520 only to be brought back into
coverage by the finding that New York did in fact use its English literacy requirement in
a discriminatory fashion as proven in a series of suits filed by Puerto Rican voters under
Section 4(e).21"

Jun. 26 2013 06:41 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

What these two rulings show you is influence. On one hand white, moneyed gays and on the other hand poor people of color.
With the ruling on voting rights this country will probably see local laws that will enforce some forms of disfranchisement and apartheid.
Race relations will be bitter and rageful in this country.
I don’t know if peaceful change and progress will be an option in the United Sates going forward.

Jun. 26 2013 10:33 AM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

@ Joyce from NYC

Puerto Ricans are US citizens from birth - they don't have to learn english to earn citizenship.

Except for citizens from Puerto Rico, I completely agree with you.

Jun. 26 2013 10:23 AM
Kate from Washington Heights

Hey Brian - Couldn't an answer to the Voting Rights decision be to simply have ALL states have to get pre-clearance? If we see a national problem with voting rights, would simply making the requirements universal satisfy the Justices' concerns?

Jun. 26 2013 10:20 AM
David from Fairfield CT

Sorry. I meant Wendy Davis for president!

Jun. 26 2013 10:18 AM
Joyce from NYC

Just goes to show how out of ate I am:

I thought:
1) to become a citizen, you have to demonstrate proficiency in English

2) You hae to be a citizen to vote.

Which of these have change, or is it both?

Jun. 26 2013 10:17 AM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

Oh how I wish that SCOTUS had not done this...Without the VRA, the Atty Gen'l could not have stopped the shenanigans that TX was going to pull with their election laws...Romney may well have become president.

The Congress had opportunities to update the language and statistics of the statute when they re-authorized but they did not. Who is SCOTUS to nullify their work or non-work. All CJ Roberts and Co. have done is reward the undemocratic use of filibuster and inaction that now typifies our seat of government. They have taken our bad situation and made it worse.

Where is the conservative howling about activists judiciary? Nowhere...effin' hypocrites.

Jun. 26 2013 10:17 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

An inevitable "wave of history?" That's what was said about Communism. I think ALL "marriage" will be dead by the end of this century.

Jun. 26 2013 10:13 AM
David from Fairfield CT

That was True Grit. Wendy Weiser for president! Any seconds?

Jun. 26 2013 10:07 AM

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