Some pundits would like to see the Voting Rights Act done away with -- particularly its provisions mandating special oversight of most Southern states because of their history of racially motivated vote suppression. But a recent action taken under the 1965 law show why it still plays an important role in guaranteeing equal voting rights to all.

This month a judicial panel issued a consent decree requiring Waller County, Texas to justify all rejected voter registrations to the U.S. Justice Department and to report every voter application received during registration drives at historically black Prairie View A&M University, the Houston Chronicle reports. The county will also have to submit twice-yearly reports on its voter registration process, reprocess voter registrations rejected since 2007 and allow any rejected applicant who meets state elections requirements and is not registered elsewhere to vote in the Nov. 4 election.

The settlement comes after the Justice Department sued Waller County to enforce anti-discrimination provisions of the Voting Rights Act. County officials admitted rejecting voter registration applications -- mostly from PVAMU students -- through new procedures instituted last year without the required permission from federal authorities. The county had rejected applications for what Justice deemed "nonmaterial" reasons, such as not including a ZIP code or for being submitted on older forms.

As part of the settlement, Waller County will have to hold voter registration drives at the PVAMU student center and hold twice-yearly registration training sessions for students. However, the PVAMU student government president said he was disappointed that the agreement didn't mandate any on-campus polling sites. The school currently has none.