eNews: Action Alert – Feb. 4, 2020Tuesday, February 04, 2020 - 10:57am
Oppose Local Election Preclearance Legislation – HB761
Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, specific states and localities with a history of imposing discriminatory election practices were identified and subjected to more stringent federal oversight to ensure the protection of individuals’ ability to vote. Virginia and its localities were required to apply for preclearance of any changes in district boundaries, election timing, or polling places.
Over time, more than 30 localities across Virginia earned exemption to this preclearance requirement from federal authorities, having demonstrated that they had been free of voter discrimination for at least ten years.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that Section 5 was unconstitutional (Shelby County v. Holder). Following that ruling neither Virginia nor its localities were subject to preclearance requirements from the federal government.
HB761 (VanValkenburg)would once again subject localities to preclearance requirements, this time submitting applications to the Virginia Office of the Attorney General instead of to the federal government. This would not apply to state redistricting efforts.
VML opposes HB761 and the reinstatement of preclearance requirements for localities.