Understanding the Provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 2022

The Voting Rights Act is a landmark law that was passed in 1965 to eliminate racial discrimination against minority voters. But in recent years, the Supreme Court has chipped away at the power of this vital piece of legislation.

Before changing their voting laws or procedures, jurisdictions with a history of discrimination in the voting process are required to obtain “preclearance” under Section 5 of the VRA. But the formula used to determine which jurisdictions are subject to this requirement was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013.


Preclearance is a process that occurs in states and localities that have had a history of discrimination in their voting processes. It requires that these jurisdictions submit any proposed changes to their voting procedures and laws to the Department of Justice, which reviews them before implementing them.

It is an essential pillar of the Voting Rights Act as it was written. It prevented passing of voting laws that would discriminate against voters because of race or language. It also allowed courts to intervene in a state’s voting practices if they felt the rules were discriminatory.

The Voting Rights Act also has other provisions that protect minority groups. For example, it requires that voting materials be provided in the languages of minority groups. It also ensures that the maps that local governments use to draw electoral districts do not violate the Act; this is what is the Voting Rights Act of 2022 all about.

One of the essential requirements of Section 5 is that state and local governments must get preclearance before changing their voting laws or procedures. They are responsible for demonstrating that a proposed modification does not have a discriminatory intent or impact.

In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that a part of the VRA, which determined which states and localities were subject to this preclearance requirement, was unconstitutional. This decision, known as Shelby County v. Holder, gutted the law and opened the floodgates to voter suppression policies.

However, the preclearance formula covers many places in the country. These include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.

Several organizations have been fighting to restore this preclearance requirement, including LDF, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, LatinoJustice, PRLDEF, and the NYCLU. They worked together to achieve this historic victory for Black voters in New York City.

In addition to the preclearance requirement, Section 2 of the VRA allows for legal challenges against alleged voting discrimination in certain circumstances. However, these lawsuits are not a substitute for Section 5.

Voter Registration

Voter registration is an essential part of the electoral process. The system varies in many countries and can be voluntary or compulsory. In countries where registration is voluntary, it often involves a political party or organization running a registration drive to encourage eligible persons to register.

In the United States, voter registration is governed by laws that require state governments to offer registration services through motor vehicle departments (driver’s license offices), disability centers, schools, libraries, and mail-in registration. Some jurisdictions also allow voters to register at polling places on Election Day, which is an excellent advantage for people who need more time to complete a registration form and mail it back.

Some jurisdictions also have a pre-registration program that allows citizens to sign up for automatic voter registration and then update their information as they reach certain age or change address. It is a popular strategy for low-income, older, and other demographic groups that may otherwise be denied the right to vote due to lack of access.

The age of eligibility for voter registration varies in different jurisdictions, but generally, it is based on the individual’s date of birth. In most cases, a person must be 18 years or older to be registered, although some jurisdictions allow youth to register as early as 16 if they have reached eighteen by the next election.

Moreover, some jurisdictions require a registration form signature that matches the individual’s official name. It is a crucial step in the verification process and can help ensure that voters have genuine identities.

If an applicant signs a registration application with false information, it is perjury and can lead to a conviction for perjury and other criminal penalties under state or federal law. In addition, an application for registration that is found to contain inaccurate or false information can be deemed invalid and disqualifying.

Understanding the rules and legislation governing voting rights in your area is crucial. For instance, some jurisdictions require applicants to submit a photo ID or proof of address. Other jurisdictions require that applications be submitted in writing.

Voting Locations

Voting locations are the places that allow voters to register and cast their ballots on Election Day. Some voting locations are open for a limited time before the official Election Day, while others are open throughout the entire election. Early voting is an exceptional opportunity for eligible voters to register and vote in person at any location in their county.

Voters should be aware of the laws governing voting locations, which are designed to protect their rights to a fair and accessible election. If voters believe they are being discriminated against or have experienced intimidation, harassment, or disruption during the election process, they should report it to an election official immediately.

Any state or political entity restricting a citizen’s ability to vote based on race, color, national origin, language, religion, or disability violates federal law. In addition, if you are registered to vote in one of the states or jurisdictions that have received federal preclearance under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, you should be able to vote at your assigned polling place on Election Day.

While it is possible to challenge a vote at the polls, a challenge must be brought to the attention of the poll workers and promptly decided by a board comprised of an inspector and two judges under applicable law and the Elections Procedures Manual. If a challenge is found valid, voters must be allowed to cast their ballot.

Tell your poll worker if you require assistance if your medical condition or handicap prevents you from casting your ballot in person, and they should give it to you. You should also be able to bring anyone of your choice into the voting booth to help you mark your ballot.

Some voting locations have staff to speak to voters who need help reading or writing, and bilingual ballots are available in some New York counties. Contact your local board of elections to learn more about these programs in your area.

Voting Procedures

The Voting Rights Act of 2022 includes provisions to ensure equal access to the polls for all voters, regardless of race. These include protections against discriminatory voting laws and policies and the ability to challenge election practices in federal court if they disenfranchise people of color or members of language minority groups.

Under Section 5 of the Act, any jurisdiction that wishes to make changes to its voting procedures must submit them to the federal government for review and preclearance. Unless a judge or the Attorney General certifies that the jurisdiction does not discriminate based on race, color, or membership in a linguistic minority group, the alteration cannot go into effect before the jurisdiction receives this preclearance.

The Supreme Court has reduced the Voting Rights Act’s protections during the past ten years, and a case that will be heard in the fall may reduce them much further. The issue is expected to aim at another core of the Act, Section 2, which prohibits racial discrimination in voting practices and procedures.

Despite these efforts to limit the VRA, the court has issued several important rulings over the last decade that have shaped how voters can challenge new election laws. Among these rulings are Shelby County, which eliminated the need for counties and stated to obtain Justice Department approval before modifying their voting rules, and Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, which laid out five guideposts to determine if an election law is likely to violate the VRA; and Abbott v. Perez, which held that state legislators could get a presumption of good faith before they can be sued for violating the Voting Rights Act.

Over the years, many jurisdictions have pushed forward discriminatory voting laws that disadvantage Black and Latinx voters. These laws include a range of changes to voting procedures, such as changing district boundaries to exclude Black and Latinx voters, instituting onerous voter identification requirements, and imposing burdensome early voting restrictions.

These changes are incredibly disproportionate to low-income, elderly, transgender, and other minority voters. They also can erode voter participation in elections, especially among women and people of color.

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