INSTITUTE INDEX: Will Congress restore the Voting Rights Act?

Congressional Democrats are pushing for legislation to restore provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that were struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013, leading to a raft of restrictive state voting laws. (Graphic from VRA for Today.)

Date on which the U.S. Supreme Court in its Shelby County v. Holder ruling disabled Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which required states with a history of voter discrimination — most of them in the South — to get federal pre-approval for any elections changes: 6/25/2013

Following the Shelby decision, number of states previously covered by federal pre-approval requirements that passed or implemented new voting restrictions: 8

Date on which a federal trial began over North Carolina's new voting law, which its Republican-controlled legislature passed a month after Shelby and is considered the nation's most restrictive: 7/13/2015

Date on which a bipartisan group of Congress members introduced the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 (H.R. 3899) to restore some legal protections Shelby took away: 1/16/2014

Under that bill, number of voting rights-related violations a state would have had to rack up in order to be subjected to federal pre-approval requirements: 5

Number of states that bill's pre-approval formula would have applied to, all of them in the South: 4*

Number of co-sponsors the bill got: 177

Date on which it was referred to the House Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, where it languished without a hearing or vote: 3/20/2014

Date on which congressional Democrats introduced the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 (S. 1659/H.R. 2867), a more ambitious plan to restore the Voting Rights Act: 6/24/2015

Under this bill, total number of voting violations states would have had to rack up over the past quarter-century to fall under federal pre-approval requirements: 25

Number of voting violations it would take for states to be subjected to pre-approval requirements if one of those violations were statewide: 10

Number of states the new bill's formula would initially cover: 13

Of those covered states, number that are in the South: 10**

Number of people who attended a rally last month in Roanoke, Virginia calling on Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, to hold a hearing on the bill: more than 300

Date on which House Democrats held a press conference urging action on the legislation: 7/16/2015

Number of co-sponsors the House version of the bill now has: 81

Number of co-sponsors the Senate version now has: 25

Number of the co-sponsors from both chambers who are Republicans: 0

* Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

** Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

(Click on figure to go to source.)