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Bench Memos

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What New Census Information Tells Us about Shelby County v. Holder



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Information released yesterday by the Census Bureau about voter turnout in 2012 further undermines the constitutionality of the distinctions made by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act between the jurisdictions it covers and those it does not. This discussion here in the Atlantic Wire concludes that “those states [now covered by Section 5] didn’t see lower-than-average black turnout. In fact, averaging both turnout and deviance from the norm in those Voting Rights Act (VRA) states, we see that they outperformed non-VRA ones.” Earlier, they note, “Black turnout was highest in Wisconsin, Mississippi, and North Carolina. The lowest percentages — of eligible black voters, not of voters overall — were in Arizona, Washington, and Arkansas.” Chief Justice Roberts had noted Mississippi’s high black turnout rate at the oral argument in Shelby County v. Holder, where the constitutionality of Section 5 has been challenged.



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