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Voting Rights Act

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a significant piece of legislation that guarantees the right to vote to racial, ethnic and language minoritiy citizens. Specifically, Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act is of particular importance. Section 2 prohibits minority vote dilution which is basically tactics, legislation, situations, etc. that weaken the voting strength of minorities. Section 2 prevents municipalities from enacting practices designed to give minorities an unfair chance to elect candidates of their choice and is enforceable nationwide. Additionally, many communities have been able to gain fair representation by implementing proportional voting systems in settlements of Voting Rights Act litigation.

FairVote in July 2013 submitted testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate in response to the Supreme Court's June 2013 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder. In that case, the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act as unconstitutional, holding that its formula can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting jurisdictions to preclearance under Section Five of the Voting Rights Act. FairVote's testimony focuses on the importance of establishing voting rules that are intrinsically fair rather than contextually fair; in particular, we propose statutory changes to make it easier for jurisdictions to adopt fair representation voting methods.