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CITE

    42 USC Sec. 1973                                            01/08/2008

EXPCITE

    TITLE 42 - THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE
    CHAPTER 20 - ELECTIVE FRANCHISE
    SUBCHAPTER I-A - ENFORCEMENT OF VOTING RIGHTS

HEAD

    Sec. 1973. Denial or abridgement of right to vote on account of
      race or color through voting qualifications or prerequisites;
      establishment of violation

STATUTE

      (a) No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting or
    standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any
    State or political subdivision in a manner which results in a
    denial or abridgement of the right of any citizen of the United
    States to vote on account of race or color, or in contravention of
    the guarantees set forth in section 1973b(f)(2) of this title, as
    provided in subsection (b) of this section.
      (b) A violation of subsection (a) of this section is established
    if, based on the totality of circumstances, it is shown that the
    political processes leading to nomination or election in the State
    or political subdivision are not equally open to participation by
    members of a class of citizens protected by subsection (a) of this
    section in that its members have less opportunity than other
    members of the electorate to participate in the political process
    and to elect representatives of their choice. The extent to which
    members of a protected class have been elected to office in the
    State or political subdivision is one circumstance which may be
    considered: Provided, That nothing in this section establishes a
    right to have members of a protected class elected in numbers equal
    to their proportion in the population.

SOURCE

    (Pub. L. 89-110, title I, Sec. 2, Aug. 6, 1965, 79 Stat. 437;
    renumbered title I, Pub. L. 91-285, Sec. 2, June 22, 1970, 84 Stat.
    314; amended Pub. L. 94-73, title II, Sec. 206, Aug. 6, 1975, 89
    Stat. 402; Pub. L. 97-205, Sec. 3, June 29, 1982, 96 Stat. 134.)

AMENDMENTS

      1982 - Pub. L. 97-205 redesignated existing provisions as subsec.
    (a), struck out the comma after "voting", substituted "in a manner
    which results in a denial or abridgement of" for "to deny or
    abridge", inserted ", as provided in subsection (b) of this
    section" after "in contravention of the guarantees set forth in
    section 1973b(f)(2) of this title", and added subsec. (b).
      1975 - Pub. L. 94-73 substituted "race or color, or in
    contravention of the guarantees set forth in section 1973b(f)(2) of
    this title" for "race or color".
                     EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1982 AMENDMENT
      Section 6 of Pub. L. 97-205 provided that: "Except as otherwise
    provided in this Act, the amendments made by this Act [see Short
    Title of 1982 Amendment note below] shall take effect on the date
    of the enactment of this Act [June 29, 1982]."
                                SHORT TITLE
      This subchapter and subchapters I-B and I-C of this chapter known
    as the "Voting Rights Act of 1965", see Short Title note set out
    under section 1971 of this title.
                    CONGRESSIONAL PURPOSE AND FINDINGS
      Pub. L. 109-246, Sec. 2, July 27, 2006, 120 Stat. 577, provided
    that:
      "(a) Purpose. - The purpose of this Act [see Short Title of 2006
    Amendment note set out under section 1971 of this title] is to
    ensure that the right of all citizens to vote, including the right
    to register to vote and cast meaningful votes, is preserved and
    protected as guaranteed by the Constitution.
      "(b) Findings. - The Congress finds the following:
        "(1) Significant progress has been made in eliminating first
      generation barriers experienced by minority voters, including
      increased numbers of registered minority voters, minority voter
      turnout, and minority representation in Congress, State
      legislatures, and local elected offices. This progress is the
      direct result of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 [this subchapter
      and subchapters I-B and I-C of this chapter].
        "(2) However, vestiges of discrimination in voting continue to
      exist as demonstrated by second generation barriers constructed
      to prevent minority voters from fully participating in the
      electoral process.
        "(3) The continued evidence of racially polarized voting in
      each of the jurisdictions covered by the expiring provisions of
      the Voting Rights Act of 1965 demonstrates that racial and
      language minorities remain politically vulnerable, warranting the
      continued protection of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
        "(4) Evidence of continued discrimination includes -
          "(A) the hundreds of objections interposed, requests for more
        information submitted followed by voting changes withdrawn from
        consideration by jurisdictions covered by the Voting Rights Act
        of 1965, and section 5 [42 U.S.C. 1973c] enforcement actions
        undertaken by the Department of Justice in covered
        jurisdictions since 1982 that prevented election practices,
        such as annexation, at-large voting, and the use of multi-
        member districts, from being enacted to dilute minority voting
        strength;
          "(B) the number of requests for declaratory judgments denied
        by the United States District Court for the District of
        Columbia;
          "(C) the continued filing of section 2 [42 U.S.C. 1973] cases
        that originated in covered jurisdictions; and
          "(D) the litigation pursued by the Department of Justice
        since 1982 to enforce sections 4(e), 4(f)(4), and 203 of such
        Act [42 U.S.C. 1973b(e), (f)(4), 1973aa-1a] to ensure that all
        language minority citizens have full access to the political
        process.
        "(5) The evidence clearly shows the continued need for Federal
      oversight in jurisdictions covered by the Voting Rights Act of
      1965 since 1982, as demonstrated in the counties certified by the
      Attorney General for Federal examiner and observer coverage and
      the tens of thousands of Federal observers that have been
      dispatched to observe elections in covered jurisdictions.
        "(6) The effectiveness of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has
      been significantly weakened by the United States Supreme Court
      decisions in Reno v. Bossier Parish II and Georgia v. Ashcroft,
      which have misconstrued Congress' original intent in enacting the
      Voting Rights Act of 1965 and narrowed the protections afforded
      by section 5 of such Act [42 U.S.C. 1973c].
        "(7) Despite the progress made by minorities under the Voting
      Rights Act of 1965, the evidence before Congress reveals that 40
      years has not been a sufficient amount of time to eliminate the
      vestiges of discrimination following nearly 100 years of
      disregard for the dictates of the 15th amendment and to ensure
      that the right of all citizens to vote is protected as guaranteed
      by the Constitution.
        "(8) Present day discrimination experienced by racial and
      language minority voters is contained in evidence, including the
      objections interposed by the Department of Justice in covered
      jurisdictions; the section 2 litigation filed to prevent dilutive
      techniques from adversely affecting minority voters; the
      enforcement actions filed to protect language minorities; and the
      tens of thousands of Federal observers dispatched to monitor
      polls in jurisdictions covered by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
        "(9) The record compiled by Congress demonstrates that, without
      the continuation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 protections,
      racial and language minority citizens will be deprived of the
      opportunity to exercise their right to vote, or will have their
      votes diluted, undermining the significant gains made by
      minorities in the last 40 years."
                               SEPARABILITY
      Section 208 of Pub. L. 94-73 provided that: "If any amendments
    made by this Act [enacting sections 1973aa-1a and 1973aa-5 of this
    title, amending this section and sections 1973a to 1973d, 1973h,
    1973i, 1973k, 1973l, 1973aa, 1973aa-2, 1973aa-3, 1973bb, 1973bb-1
    of this title, and repealing sections 1973bb-2 to 1973bb-4 of this
    title] or the application of any provision thereof to any person or
    circumstance is judicially determined to be invalid, the remainder
    of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 [this subchapter and subchapters I-
    B and I-C of this chapter], or the application of such provision
    to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected by such
    determination."
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