Here's The Chart Chief Justice Roberts Used To Prove That A Key Provision Of The Voting Rights Act Is Outdated

Included in Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion striking down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act is a chart that rationalizes why the court discarded the portion of the law. 

The chart compares the gains in minority voter registration from 1965 to 2004, the last data available before Congress renewed the Voting Rights Act in 2006:

Supreme Court chart

These six states were the ones originally covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires states with a requires states with a history of racial discrimination to get permission from the federal government before changing their election or voting laws.

It shows a vast gains in voter registration over the 40-year period. Roberts also pointed out that in five of the six states, African-American turnout in the 2012 election actually exceeded white turnout. 

Interestingly, Roberts attributed some of these gains to the Voting Rights Act.

“There is no doubt that these improvements are in large part because of the Voting Rights Act,” he wrote. “The Act has proved immensely successful at redressing racial discrimination and integrating the voting process.”

But Roberts said that the pre-clearance system for changes to voting laws no longer made sense — pointing to original conditions of pre-clearance included in the Voting Rights Act that were no longer necessary due to the gains in minority voter registration.

“Coverage today is based on decades-old data and eradicated practices,” he wrote. “The formula captures States by reference to literacy tests and low voter registration and turnout in the 1960s and early 1970s. But such tests have been banned nationwide for over 40 years. And voter registration and turnout numbers in the covered States have risen dramatically in the years since.”

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