Until 2013, it was much easier to block discriminatory voting laws. Under the Voting Rights Act, all or parts of 16 states, most in the South, with a history of passing such laws were required to get permission from the Justice Department before making any voting changes. But in the case of Shelby County v. Holder, five Supreme Court justices disabled that requirement, known as preclearance.
Now that federal oversight is gone, officials in previously monitored jurisdictions have rushed to impose a slew of new voting laws and regulations, according to a running tally by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. These changes have, among other things, moved or closed polling places, shortened or canceled early-voting periods, required proof of citizenship or a photo identification to register to vote, erroneously purged voters from the rolls and gerrymandered districts to dilute the power of minority voters.
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