Florence Baggs, an African American nurse and school board member in rural Long County, Ga., was working at her clinic desk when she got the phone call last year from the U.S. Department of Justice. The county commission’s newly drawn districts would dilute black voting strength, the caller said, and there was another way.
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The Voting Rights Act
Section 2: Says racial discrimination in voting procedures is illegal. This is still the law of the land, but voters must wait until a change is in effect, take the initiative, gather the evidence, and sue.
Section 4b: Contains the geographic formula that triggered extra scrutiny under Section 5. This formula was struck down by the Supreme Court as outdated. Georgia was covered under it.
Section 5: Required certain states and jurisdictions to submit any proposed voting change for “pre-clearance” by the Department of Justice, before the change went into effect. Technically this is still law, but it’s suspended until Congress agrees on a new geographical formula. Many doubt that Congress can agree on something so politically loaded.