Posted by FairVote on September 23, 2011 at 4:52 AM
Even after the passage of the14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution, states, especially in the South, continued finding ways to bar African Americans from voting. Throughout the years the Supreme Court had struck down various voter suppression tactics such as grandfather clauses, white primaries, racial gerrymandering, and discriminatory application of voting tests.
However, some southern states continued to stay one step ahead of the federal government in creating new ways to limit voting. Congress and the Justice Department had been trying to deal with the problem on a case-by-case basis, but had been ineffective because the process to ban each discriminatory practice required a lot of time, energy and money. Furthermore, even when one of these challenges was successful, it was very narrow in reach.