Voting Rights Act of 1965: Background and Overview [July 20, 2015]   [open pdf - 406KB]

"The Voting Rights Act (VRA) was successfully challenged in a June 2013 case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 'Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder'. The suit challenged the constitutionality of Sections 4 and 5 of the VRA, under which certain jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination in voting--mostly in the South--were required to 'pre-clear' changes to the election process with the Justice Department (the U.S. Attorney General) or the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. […] The Voting Rights Act is a landmark federal law enacted in 1965 to remove race-based restrictions on voting. It is perhaps the country's most important voting rights law, with a history that dates to the Civil War. After that conflict ended, a number of constitutional amendments were adopted that addressed the particular circumstances of freed slaves, including the Fifteenth Amendment that guaranteed the right to vote for all U.S. citizens regardless of 'race, color, or previous condition of servitude.' […] This report provides background information on the historical circumstances that led to the adoption of the VRA, a summary of its major provisions, and a brief discussion of the U.S. Supreme Court decision and related legislation in the 113th and 114th Congresses."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R43626
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Via E-mail
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