“When Congress passed the Voting Rights Act in 1965, it included Section 5, a provision that requires certain places with a history of discrimination against minorities' voting rights to get approval from the Department of Justice or a federal court in Washington D.C. before making any changes to their election law. Arizona is one of the nine states covered by this provision, and it is important because it protects the ability of minority voters to have their voices heard at the polling place.
“The court has upheld this law many times. It got overwhelming congressional support when it was reauthorized in 2006. It has been used to prevent states from taking action that could negatively affect the rights of minority voters. The provision ensures that minority voting interests are analyzed and evaluated before any election change can take effect. Without its requirements, those interests may not be considered, and discrimination could creep back into our laws.
“We’ve seen a number of bills in this Legislature that could harm minority voters. Section 5 requires that such issues be considered. The Department of Justice’s ability to review these laws is an important protection, and it is one that should remain in place. It helps to ensure that our democracy is fair and representative.”