Southern Cities and Preclearance:The US Department of Justice and the Voting Rights Act of 1965
Scholars continuously attempt to discern the impact of redistricting and debate the benefits and consequences of majority-minority districts, and part of that debate surrounds Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Section 5, commonly referred to as preclearance, gives the Justice Department the authority to scrutinize state and local changes in voting and electoral law. Its aim is to prevent the implementation of discriminatory electoral practices and procedures. Section 5 allows the Justice Department to accept or object any proposed changes in district lines, polling places, election rules or any other procedure related to and affecting registration and voting in local, state and national elections. Electoral changes that garner a lot of attention are newly drawn legislative districts. This research focuses on city redistricting plans submitted to the Justice Department for preclearance from southern cities in nine states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia between the years 1965 and 2000.
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