Saturday, July 29, 2006

On Salem and the Voting Rights Act

Rick Hasen links here to a press release that says this:

"On July 26, 2006, the same day that President Bush extended the special provisions of the Voting Rights Act for another 25 years, a three-judge federal court in Washington, DC, approved the City of Salem’s request for a bailout from coverage under the Voting Rights Act. Salem becomes the eleventh local government to obtain a bailout since 1996.
The bailout means that Salem will no longer be required to submit any of its voting changes to the Justice Department for preclearance review, and will give local election officials greater flexibility in making voting and election changes that will assist voters.
J. Gerald Hebert, an attorney in Alexandria, Virginia, who handled the City of Salem’s case, noted that the City had demonstrated a solid record of compliance with all provisions of the Voting Rights Act, thus making it eligible to receive the bailout. He applauded officials in the City, particularly the City’s General Registrar of Voters, Ms. Dana Oliver, for operating a voter registration and election administration office that made it easy to establish the City’s bailout eligibility.
Hebert has represented all eleven Virginia jurisdictions that have obtained bailouts. Hebert added that he thought more local governments would likely pursue bailouts in the future, especially now that the Act has been extended and the bailout provisions remained unchanged. Hebert said: state and local governments that believe they are eligible to bailout should do so because it is easy to do if there is equal opportunity to participate in all aspects of the voting and electoral process. It’s also affordable and cost-effective.”

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