INSTITUTE INDEX: Will the Supreme Court gut the Voting Rights Act?
Number of days after the 2012 election that the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would hear Shelby County, Ala.'s challenge to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a law that aims to protect racial minorities from discrimination at the polls: 3
Number of states covered in whole by the VRA's Section 5, the target of the challenge, which requires the Justice Department to approve any changes to election rules before implementation: 9
Of those states, number in the South: 7
Number of specific counties covered by Section 5: 57
Of those counties, number in the South: 45
Number of townships also covered by Section 5, all of them in Michigan and New Hampshire: 12
Of the voting rules changes considered by the Justice Department under Section 5, percentage that have been denied: 1
Year in which Congress last authorized Section 5 for another 25 years in an overwhelming vote: 2006
Of the 11 states of the former Confederacy, number that passed voting restrictions since the 2010 election that would make it harder for minority citizens to cast ballots: 8
Date on which the Justice Department invoked the Voting Rights Act to block South Carolina's new voter ID law from taking effect: 12/23/2011
Date on which a three-judge panel unanimously held that Florida could not slash the period for early voting, citing the Voting Rights Act: 8/16/2012
Date on which another three-judge panel unanimously ruled that Texas' new state legislative and congressional districts diluted minority voting strength, thus violating the Voting Rights Act: 8/28/2012
Date on which yet another three-judge panel unanimously blocked Texas' new voter identification law, the strictest in the nation, citing the Voting Rights Act: 8/30/2012
Number of Republican state attorneys general who are supporting Shelby County's challenge to Section 5, which is financed by the Project on Fair Representation, a Virginia nonprofit also involved in the Supreme Court challenge to affirmative action: 6*
Number of times to date that the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the VRA's Section 5: 4
Date by which the Supreme Court is expected to hand down a decision in the case, titled Shelby County, Ala. v. Eric Holder: 6/2013
* The attorneys general from the Southern states of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas, as well as those from Arizona and South Dakota.
(Click on figure to go to source. Map from the Justice Department.)
Sue is the editorial director of Facing South and the Institute for Southern Studies.