Document Type


First Page



The right to vote is fundamental to American democracy, yet for hundreds of years American history has been marked by efforts to restrict voting. Often, voting restrictions disproportionately affect minority voters, through both intentional discrimination and facially-neutral voting laws. Since its 1965 implementation, the Voting Rights Act (“VRA”) has been used to fight discriminatory voting laws through affirmative suits and mandatory federal approval of voting changes for states with a history of voter discrimination. On June 25, 2013, the Supreme Court struck down a crucial part of the VRA, eliminating the requirement that jurisdictions with storied pasts of voter discrimination seek federal approval for voting law changes. Despite this holding, discriminatory voting laws persist and are on the rise nationwide. In the wake of the Court’s holding and renewed state efforts to implement restrictive voting laws, this Note argues for a limited, nationwide expansion of federal preclearance under the VRA to confront modern, wide-ranging threats to voting rights.