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Expert Brief

'Shelby County’: One Year Later

Our new paper details the controversial election changes that have been made since last year’s Shelby County ruling weakened a core provision of the Voting Rights Act.

  • Tomas Lopez
Published: June 24, 2014

[View this analysis as a PDF]

One year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the most power­ful provi­sion in the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — a law widely regarded as the most effect­ive piece of civil rights legis­la­tion in Amer­ican history. Specific­ally, in Shelby County v. Holder, the Court inval­id­ated the formula that determ­ined which states and local­it­ies, because of a history of discrim­in­a­tion, had to seek federal “preclear­ance,” or approval, from either the Depart­ment of Justice or a federal court before imple­ment­ing any changes to their voting laws and proced­ures. For nearly 50 years, preclear­ance (set forth in Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act) assured that voting changes were trans­par­ent, vetted, and fair to all voters.

Before the Shelby County decision, the Bren­nan Center examined the poten­tial consequences of a ruling against the preclear­ance process in If Section 5 Falls: New Voting Implic­a­tions. In just the year since Shelby County, most of the feared consequences have come to pass — includ­ing attempts to: revive voting changes that were blocked as discrim­in­at­ory, move forward with voting changes previ­ously deterred, and imple­ment new discrim­in­at­ory voting restric­tions.

The decision has had three major impacts:

  • Section 5 no longer blocks or deters discrim­in­at­ory voting changes, as it did for decades and right up until the Court’s decision.
  • Chal­len­ging discrim­in­at­ory laws and prac­tices is now more diffi­cult, expens­ive, and time-consum­ing.
  • The public now lacks crit­ical inform­a­tion about new voting laws that Section 5 once mandated be disclosed prior to imple­ment­a­tion.

This paper summar­izes some of the stor­ies behind these facts, and tracks the voting changes that have been imple­men­ted in the states and other juris­dic­tions formerly covered by Section 5: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Geor­gia, Louisi­ana, Missis­sippi, South Caro­lina, Texas, and Virginia in their entirety; and parts of Cali­for­nia, Flor­ida, Michigan, New York, North Caro­lina, and South Dakota.

I. The Loss of Section 5 Has Removed an Effect­ive Deterrent Against Harm­ful Elec­tion Law Changes

Section 5 was a uniquely effect­ive law that blocked or other­wise preven­ted scores of discrim­in­at­ory voting changes from being imple­men­ted. While the Shelby County decision argued that the law was effect­ively obsol­ete, Section 5 remained a power­ful tool through June 2013. In the 15 years before its oper­a­tion was halted, Section 5 blocked 86 laws through its admin­is­trat­ive process[1] and several more through litig­a­tion.[2] At least 13 of these laws were blocked in just the final 18 months before the Shelby Court’s ruling.[3]

Its effect­ive­ness went beyond the laws it blocked. In one recent six-year period, 262 voting changes were with­drawn or altered after the Depart­ment of Justice (DOJ) asked the juris­dic­tions for more inform­a­tion to assess whether they were discrim­in­at­ory under the Voting Rights Act (VRA).[4] That figure does not include the hundreds of voting changes that were deterred because juris­dic­tions knew they would not with­stand VRA review.

A. Statewide Voting Changes That Were or Would Likely Have Been Blocked

Imme­di­ately after Shelby County, one state moved forward with imple­ment­ing laws that were previ­ously blocked, two states moved forward with passed laws that may have been blocked, and one state passed new restrict­ive legis­la­tion:

  • Texas: On the very day of the Shelby County ruling, Texas offi­cials announced[5] they would imple­ment the state’s strict photo ID law, which was previ­ously blocked by Section 5 because of its racial impact. “[U]ndis­puted… evid­ence demon­strates that racial minor­it­ies in Texas are dispro­por­tion­ately likely to live in poverty, and [that the ID law] will weigh more heav­ily on the poor,” a federal court held.[6] Early assess­ments indic­ated that between 600,000 and 800,000 registered voters in Texas lacked photo ID, over 300,000 of them Latino.[7] Voter advoc­ates, includ­ing the Bren­nan Center and the DOJ, have now sued the state of Texas over this law under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, among other claims.
  • North Caro­lina: Also shortly after the Shelby County decision, the state legis­lature passed a law that imposed a strict photo ID require­ment, signi­fic­antly cut back on early voting, and reduced the window for voter regis­tra­tion. This law is widely regarded as the most restrict­ive piece of voting legis­la­tion passed in recent years. Lawmakers waited until after preclear­ance was gone to move forward with the legis­la­tion, with a State Senate commit­tee chair telling the press after the Court’s decision, “now we can go with the full bill,” rather than a pared down, less restrict­ive version.[8] Prior to Shelby County, the legis­la­tion, which is currently being chal­lenged under Section 2 of the VRA, among other claims, would have required preclear­ance review before going into effect. Data shows the law will dispro­por­tion­ately affect minor­it­ies. In North Caro­lina, the State Board of Elec­tions iden­ti­fied more than 300,000 registered voters who lack a DMV-issued ID, the most common form of ID accep­ted under the state’s strict law.[9] One-third of these voters are African Amer­ican.[10] And 7 in 10 African Amer­ic­ans who cast ballots in 2008 used the early voting period (23 percent of whom did so during the week that was cut by the law).[11]
  • Alabama: After the Shelby County decision, the state moved ahead with its law requir­ing strict photo ID to vote. This law passed in 2011 and would have required preclear­ance. However, state offi­cials never submit­ted the bill for preclear­ance[12] and did not announce plans for imple­ment­a­tion until after the Supreme Court’s ruling.[13] More than 30 percent of Alabama’s voting-age citizens live more than 10 miles from the nearest state-ID issu­ing office.[14] Accord­ing to a Bren­nan Center study, in 2012, 11 counties with substan­tial black popu­la­tions had state driver’s licenses offices that were open only once or twice per week.[15] Even those look­ing to register to vote in Alabama will exper­i­ence chal­lenges — legis­lat­ors also passed a law requir­ing indi­vidu­als to provide docu­ment­ary proof of citizen­ship when regis­ter­ing to vote.[16] This meas­ure is not currently in effect.
  • Missis­sippi: Shortly follow­ing the Supreme Court’s ruling, state offi­cials moved to enforce its photo ID law, which the state submit­ted for preclear­ance but was never allowed to imple­ment.[17] Nearly 35 percent of the state’s voting-age popu­la­tion lives more than 10 miles from the nearest office that will issue ID and,[18] in 2012, 13 contigu­ous counties with sizable African-Amer­ican popu­la­tions lacked a single full-time driver’s license office.[19]

These laws exist along­side other attemp­ted or proposed statewide policy meas­ures that can restrict the abil­ity to vote through design and/or poor imple­ment­a­tion:

  • In 2013, Flor­ida offi­cials attemp­ted to purge thou­sands of people from the state’s voter’s rolls because of suspi­cions they were non-citizens.[20] The state ulti­mately suspen­ded these efforts.[21] When it tried the same thing in 2012, its purge list began with 180,000 suspec­ted non-citizens on the voter rolls and was reduced to approx­im­ately 2,700.[22] That purge list contained a dispro­por­tion­ately high number of Latino surnames. While Lati­nos compose 13 percent of Flor­id­a’s registered voters, an analysis found they made up 58 percent of that group of approx­im­ately 2,700.[23] From the 180,000 to fewer than 3,000, Flor­ida even­tu­ally found fewer than 40 non-citizens suspec­ted of voting illeg­ally.[24]
  • Also in 2013, Virginia offi­cials sought to purge the names of tens of thou­sands of voters from the state’s rolls. While a federal court allowed the purge to proceed,[25] the state’s efforts were error-prone and taken unne­ces­sar­ily close to that year’s elec­tions.[26] One month before the elec­tion, one county regis­trar found that of a list of 1,000 names he was told to purge, more than 170 were in error.[27]
  • Arizona offi­cials have proposed imple­ment­ing separ­ate voter regis­tra­tion systems for federal and state elec­tions. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that Arizona cannot ask for docu­ment­ary proof of citizen­ship when voters sign up using the federal regis­tra­tion form.[28] State offi­cials then devised a two-tiered system that would allow the state to require proof of citizen­ship docu­ments for anyone regis­ter­ing to vote in a state elec­tion.[29] The Depart­ment of Justice has previ­ously used Section 5 to block such dual regis­tra­tion systems.[30]

B. Local Voting Changes That Were or Would Likely Have Been Blocked

Section 5’s loss will perhaps be felt most acutely at the local level. The great major­ity of voting law changes that were blocked as discrim­in­at­ory under the Voting Rights Act were local: counties, muni­cip­al­it­ies, and other places that oper­ate below the state level.[31] In the past year, the follow­ing changes and attemp­ted changes have already taken place in juris­dic­tions previ­ously covered in whole or in part by preclear­ance:

  • In 2013, Galve­ston County, Texas, revived a redis­trict­ing plan for elect­ing justices of the peace that was previ­ously blocked by the DOJ because it discrim­in­ated against minor­ity voters. The new map dimin­ished minor­ity voting strength by redu­cing the number districts where minor­ity voters would have a fair and effect­ive voice.[32]The Justice Depart­ment blocked a similar proposal under Section 5 only two years ago out of concern that “minor­ity voters possess the abil­ity to elect candid­ates of choice.”[33] Now, without Section 5’s protec­tions, the districts are slated to be imple­men­ted in 2015,[34] but are being chal­lenged in an ongo­ing case in federal court in the South­ern District of Texas. The case went to trial this spring and is await­ing a decision.[35]
  • The city of Pasadena, Texas, is redraw­ing its city coun­cil districts in a way that is expec­ted to dimin­ish the influ­ence of its Latino voters in muni­cipal govern­ment.[36] A func­tion­ing Section 5 would have blocked any new redis­trict­ing plan that would have made it harder for Lati­nos to elect their candid­ates of choice.
  • After Shelby County, Geor­gia offi­cials moved the dates of muni­cipal elec­tions in two counties with substan­tial African Amer­ican popu­la­tions from the tradi­tional Novem­ber date to another date. This may reduce black voter parti­cip­a­tion in local elec­tions because the muni­cipal elec­tions are not occur­ring when citizens are voting in state and federal general elec­tions. The DOJ blocked a similar proposal under Section 5 in 2012 because turnout is lower outside of Novem­ber elec­tions, and the drop in turnout is “signi­fic­antly greater” for black voters than white voters.[37] After a federal court dismissed a chal­lenge to the new date for one of the counties, muni­cipal elec­tions took place in May 2014.[38] Data as to minor­ity parti­cip­a­tion is not yet avail­able for that elec­tion, but over­all turnout in that county was down nearly 20 percent (30.02 percent in 2014)[39] from the previ­ous mayoral elec­tion (49.54 percent turnout in 2010).[40]

C. Restrict­ive Voting Legis­la­tion in States Previ­ously Covered by Section 5

In 2013 and 2014, at least 10 of the 15 states that had been covered in whole or in part by Section 5 intro­duced new restrict­ive legis­la­tion that would make it harder for minor­ity voters to cast a ballot. These have passed in two states: Virginia (stricter photo ID require­ment and increased restric­tions on third-party voter regis­tra­tion) and North Caro­lina (the above-discussed omni­bus bill, which included the ID require­ment, early voting cutbacks, and the elim­in­a­tion of same-day voter regis­tra­tion). Further, seven other formerly covered states also passed restrict­ive legis­la­tion in 2011 and 2012, prior to the Shelby County decision.

II. Chal­len­ging Discrim­in­at­ory Voting Laws is Now More Diffi­cult, Expens­ive, and Time Consum­ing

As described above, under Section 5, discrim­in­at­ory voting laws could not go into effect unless they were vetted through the preclear­ance process, which consisted of either an effect­ive admin­is­trat­ive process or through litig­a­tion before a federal court. The juris­dic­tion had the choice of which preclear­ance route to take, and the vast major­ity of preclear­ance actions were done through the admin­is­trat­ive process because it was cheaper, faster, and easier than preclear­ance litig­a­tion.

Consider Texas, where state lawmakers passed one of the coun­try’s most restrict­ive photo ID laws. That law did not and could not go into effect unless and until it was precleared by the DOJ or a three-judge federal court. In this instance, Texas first sought preclear­ance from the DOJ, but then even­tu­ally elec­ted to litig­ate the matter before a federal court. Both the DOJ and the court denied preclear­ance, find­ing the restrict­ive photo ID require­ment viol­ated Section 5.

After the Shelby County decision, Texas put the previ­ously blocked law into effect, and it remains so until voters can win a new lawsuit under another provi­sion of the VRA, Section 2, making a similar show­ing, albeit under a differ­ent legal stand­ard.[41] The photo ID law has been in place for local elec­tions and the March 2014 primar­ies. The case is currently sched­uled to go to trial before the 2014 elec­tion.

Chal­len­ging restrict­ive laws one by one under Section 2 or some other law is consid­er­ably more expens­ive than the admin­is­trat­ive preclear­ance process these indi­vidual chal­lenges now have to replace. The active Texas photo ID suit, which is a number of consol­id­ated lawsuits, now lists more than 50 coun­sel of record on all sides.[42] In the months since that litig­a­tion began, the parties have produced more than 300 court filings, includ­ing motions, notices, and briefs, large and small. The consol­id­ated North Caro­lina lawsuits include 40 coun­sel of record and have filed more than 120 docu­ments.[43] The total cost of these lawsuits will be substan­tial. As a point of refer­ence, three lawyers who parti­cip­ated in the Texas photo ID preclear­ance case in 2012 sought more than $350,000 in attor­neys’ fees to cover their expenses.[44] The expenses for the active Texas photo ID litig­a­tion can expect to run into the millions.

III. Without Section 5, Thou­sands of Voting Law Changes Lack Account­ab­il­ity

Section 5 used to cover more than 8,000 state and local juris­dic­tions. That is gone now, and it is a large loss. In 2012, the final full calen­dar year before the Shelby County decision, the Justice Depart­ment received 18,146 elec­tion law and proced­ure changes from Section 5 juris­dic­tions.[45] From 2009 to 2013, the DOJ received 58,692 such changes.[46]

One of the stat­ute’s most import­ant func­tions was to impose trans­par­ency on these many thou­sands of elec­tion law changes. For example, the preclear­ance process included the possib­il­ity of input from the public, who could consult with the DOJ during its review or weigh in during any preclear­ance litig­a­tion before a court. Because covered juris­dic­tions had to provide notice to the DOJ whenever they made a change to their voting systems, there was also a cent­ral­ized method to monitor those changes before they were imple­men­ted. The public benefited from that account­ab­il­ity. Without Section 5, thou­sands of changes to voting proced­ures may go unnoticed.

While advoc­ates and community lead­ers remain vigil­ant and are work­ing to build monit­or­ing systems, Section 5’s mandate to cent­ral­ize inform­a­tion for thou­sands upon thou­sands of voting law changes will be very diffi­cult to replic­ate. Public notice by elec­tion offi­cials and constant aware­ness by community members may well keep the public informed to a certain extent, but no ad hoc method of learn­ing about incid­ents will adequately replace a tool with consid­er­able cover­age.

IV. Conclu­sion

Section 5 protec­ted voting rights by regu­lat­ing, deter­ring, and block­ing harm­ful voting law changes for nearly 50 years. The above inform­a­tion speaks to the fact that it remained active well after its enact­ment in 1965, and the contin­ued exist­ence of harm­ful, discrim­in­at­ory voting laws rebuts the Supreme Court’s claim that progress has made the stat­ute obsol­ete.

For all the real progress Section 5 facil­it­ated, the nation and its voters now lack a crit­ical tool to protect those earned advances. Bad laws with last­ing, harm­ful consequences now lack a review mech­an­ism, the method of fight­ing these laws is now limited to costly and time-intens­ive litig­a­tion, and the public has lost the one cent­ral­ized means to track the thou­sands of changes annu­ally that affect Amer­ic­ans’ right to vote.

The year since Shelby County tells only the begin­ning of a story, but even that begin­ning points to the tools and account­ab­il­ity that have been lost, and the neces­sity that our lawmakers recover them.


[1] This is the number of submis­sions of voting changes from the begin­ning of 1998 to which DOJ has inter­posed an objec­tion. Some objec­tions were later with­drawn or were super­seded by a declar­at­ory judg­ment action for court preclear­ance in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. For state-by-state chro­no­lo­gical list­ings of Section 5 objec­tions, see Section 5 Objec­tion Letters, U.S. Dept. of Justice, http://www.justice.gov/crt/records/vot/obj_letters/index.php (list­ing 86 objec­tions since the begin­ning of 1998).

[2] See, e.g., Flor­ida v. United States, 885 F. Supp. 2d 299, 357 (D.D.C. 2012) (deny­ing preclear­ance for reduc­tion in early voting oppor­tun­it­ies but grant­ing preclear­ance for proced­ures for inter-county movers); Texas v. Holder, 888 F. Supp. 2d 113, 144 (D.D.C. 2012) (deny­ing preclear­ance for Texas voter photo ID law); Texas v. United States, 887 F. Supp. 2d 133, 178 (D.D.C. 2012) (deny­ing preclear­ance for Texas’s redis­trict­ing plans).

[3] Supra notes 1 and 2. This is the number of objec­tions inter­posed from the begin­ning of 2012 through the date of the Shelby County decision, combined with the preclear­ance litig­a­tion described in note 2.

[4] Myrna Pérez & Vishal Agra­harkar, If Section 5 Falls: New Voting Implic­a­tions 5 (2013) (citing Luis Ricardo Fraga & Maria Lizet Ocampo, More Inform­a­tion Requests and the Deterrent Effect of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, in Voting Rights Act Reau­thor­iz­a­tion of 2006: Perspect­ives on Demo­cracy, Parti­cip­a­tion, and Power, 47, 57–58 (Ana Hende­r­son ed., 2007), avail­able at http://www.law.berke­ley.edu/files/ch_3_fraga_ocampo_3–9–07.pdf.

[5] Ed Pilk­ing­ton, Texas Rushes Ahead with Voter ID Law after Supreme Court Decision, The Guard­ian (June 25, 2013), http://www.theguard­ian.com/world/2013/jun/25/texas-voter-id-supreme-court-decision

[7] Letter from Thomas E. Perez, Assist­ant Att’y Gen., to Keith Ingra­ham, Director of Elec­tions, Office of the Texas Secret­ary of State (Mar. 12, 2012), avail­able at http://www.justice.gov/crt/records/vot/obj_letters/letters/TX/l_120312.pdf.

[8] Laura Leslie, NC Voter ID Bill Moving Ahead With Supreme Court Ruling, WRAL.com (June 25, 2013), http://www.wral.com/nc-senator-voter-id-bill-moving-ahead-with-ruling/12591669/.  

[9] North Caro­lina State Board of Elec­tions, April 2013 SBOE-DMV ID Analysis 9 (April 17, 2013), avail­able at http://canons.sog.unc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/St-Bd-voter-ID-report.pdf.

[10] Id.

[11] Compl., United States v. North Caro­lina, No. 13–861 (M.D.N.C. Sept. 30, 2013), avail­able at http://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/resources/646201393013723793555.pdf.

[12] Kim Chand­ler, State Has Yet to Seek Preclear­ance of Photo Voter ID Law Approved in 2011, AL.com (June 12, 2013), http://blog.al.com/wire/2013/06/photo_voter_id.html.

[13] Kim Chand­ler, Alabama Photo Voter ID Law to be Used in 2014, State Offi­cials Say, AL.com (June 26, 2013), http://blog.al.com/wire/2013/06/alabama_photo_voter_id_law_to.html.

[14] Keesha Gaskins & Sundeep Iyer, The Chal­lenge of Obtain­ing Photo Iden­ti­fic­a­tion, Bren­nan Center for Justice, at 7, avail­able at http://www.bren­nan­cen­ter.org/sites/default/files/legacy/Demo­cracy/VRE/Chal­lenge_of_Obtain­ing_Voter_ID.pdf.

[15] Id.

[16] Ala. Code § 31–13–28.

[17] Letter from Delbert Hose­mann, Missis­sippi Secret­ary of State, to T. Chris­tian Herren, Jr., U.S. Dept. of Justice (Jan. 18, 2013), avail­able at http://sos.ms.gov/links/voter_id/Cover%20let­ter.pdf. See Voting Determ­in­a­tion Letters for Missis­sippi, U.S. Dept. of Justice, avail­able at http://www.justice.gov/crt/records/vot/obj_letters/state_letters.php?state=ms (list­ing no objec­tion letter as to Missis­sip­pi’s ID law).

[18] Gaskins & Iyer, supra note 14, at 3 (Table 1).

[19] Id. at 8.

[20] See Steve Bousquet & Michael Van Sick­ler, Governor to Launch New Purge of Flor­ida Voter Rolls, Miami Herald (Aug. 4, 2013), http://www.miami­her­ald.com/2013/08/04/3538862/governor-to-launch-new-purge-of.html; Amy Sher­man, Many Ques­tions, Few Answers on State’s Voter Purge Plan, Miami Herald, (Oct. 9, 2013), http://www.miami­her­ald.com/2013/10/09/3680007/many-ques­tions-few-answers-on.html

[21] Steve Bousquet & Amy Sher­man, Flor­ida Halts Purge of Noncit­izens from Voter Rolls, Tampa Bay Times, (Mar. 27, 2014), http://www.tampabay.com/news/polit­ics/elec­tions/flor­ida-halts-purge-of-noncit­izens-from-voter-rolls/2172206.

[22] Lizette Alvarez, Ruling Revives Flor­ida Review of Voting Rolls, N.Y. Times, (Aug. 7, 2013), http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/08/us/ruling-revives-flor­ida-review-of-voting-rolls.html?_r=0.

[23] Marc Caputo, Feds to Flor­ida:  Halt Non-Citizen Voter Purge, Miami Herald, (May 31, 2012), http://www.miami­her­ald.com/2012/05/31/2826708/feds-demand-flor­ida-cease-its.html.  

[24] Lizette Alvarez, Ruling Revives Flor­ida Review of Voting Rolls, N.Y. Times (Aug. 7, 2013), http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/08/us/ruling-revives-flor­ida-review-of-voting-rolls.html; Rachel Weiner, Flor­id­a’s Voter Purge Explained, Wash. Post (June 18, 2012), http://www.wash­ing­ton­post.com/blogs/the-fix/post/flor­i­das-voter-purge-explained/2012/06/18/gJQAhvcNlV_blog.html.

[25] Matt Zapo­tosky, Virgini­a’s Demo­cratic Party loses chal­lenge against purge of 38,000 voters from rolls, Wash. Post (Oct. 18, 2013), http://www.wash­ing­ton­post.com/local/virginia-polit­ics/federal-judge-rejects-demo­cratic-chal­lenge-to-virginia-voter-roll-purge/2013/10/18/26235068–3809–11e3–8a0e-4e2cf80831fc_story.html

[26] See Jonathan Brater, Virginia Offers Lessons for Voter List Main­ten­ance, Bren­nan Center for Justice (Nov. 25, 2013), http://www.bren­nan­cen­ter.org/analysis/virginia-offers-lessons-voter-list-main­ten­ance  see also Virginia Removes 40K From Voter Rolls Over Demo­crats’ Objec­tions, Asso­ci­ated Press (Oct. 17, 2013), http://www.times­dis­patch.com/news/state-regional/va-removes-k-from-voter-rolls-over-demo­crats-objec­tions/article_2d111de4–49de-523b-bd9c-5d93b7c0a00e.html.

[28] Arizona v. Inter-Tribal Coun­cil of Arizona, 133 S. Ct. 2247 (2013).

[29] Ariz. Op. Att’y Gen. No. I13–011 (Oct. 7, 2013); see Cindy Carcamo, Arizona offi­cials say rule may keep thou­sands from voting, L.A. Times (Oct. 8, 2013), http://articles.latimes.com/2013/oct/08/nation/la-na-ff-arizona-voting-20131009.

[30] See Letter from Sandra M. Shel­son, Special Assist­ant Att’y Gen., U.S. Dept. of Justice, to State of Missis­sippi (Sept. 22, 1997), avail­able at http://www.justice.gov/crt/records/vot/obj_letters/letters/MS/MS-2650.pdf (deny­ing preclear­ance for a two-tier system, noting that “a similar require­ment had led to  pronounced discrim­in­at­ory effects on black voters”). See Young v. Fordice, 520 U.S. 273, 275 (1997) (hold­ing that Missis­sippi needed to seek preclear­ance for its proposed change to a two-tier system).

[31] See Section 5 Objec­tion Letters, Dept. of Justice, avail­able at http://www.justice.gov/crt/records/vot/obj_letters/index.php. Unfor­tu­nately, because of the loss of Section 5’s notice require­ment, it is diffi­cult to learn of voting changes at the local level, which typic­ally are not as high profile as the state-level changes. While some local voting changes have come to light, many others (like polling place clos­ures, local elec­tion cancel­la­tions, and the like) are undoubtedly undis­covered.

[32] Galve­ston County, Tex., Redis­trict­ing Order Estab­lish­ing Justice of the Peace Precinct Bound­ar­ies (Aug. 19, 2013), avail­able at  http://www.guidrynews.com/13August/23113Galve­stonCo.pdf. See also Harvey Rice, Lawsuit says Galve­ston remap discrim­in­at­ory, Hous­ton Chron­icle (Aug. 26, 2013), http://www.hous­ton­chron­icle.com/news/hous­ton-texas/texas/article/Lawsuit-says-Galve­ston-remap-discrim­in­at­ory-4761878.php (paywall only).

[33] Letter from Thomas E. Perez, Assist­ant Att’y Gen., to James E. Trainor, III, Coun­sel for Galve­ston County, Texas (March 5, 2012), avail­able at http://www.justice.gov/crt/records/vot/obj_letters/letters/TX/l_120305.pdf

[34] Annette Baird, Candid­ates compete for fewer Galve­ston County justices of peace posi­tions, Hous­ton Chron­icle (Feb. 18, 2014), http://www.chron.com/neigh­bor­hood/bayarea/news/article/Candid­ates-compete-for-fewer-Galve­ston-County-5245671.php

[35] Pette­way, et al. v. Galve­ston County, Texas, et al., No. 3:13-cv-308 (S.D. Tex. Aug. 26, 2013).

[36] Sylvia Garcia & Larry Peacock, Garcia, Peacock: Redis­trict­ing proposal targets Hispanic gains, Hous­ton Chron­icle (Nov. 1, 2013), http://www.chron.com/opin­ion/outlook/article/Garcia-Peacock-Redis­trict­ing-proposal-targets-4947300.php.

[37] Letter from Thomas E. Perez, Assist­ant Att’y Gen., to Dennis R. Dunn, Deputy Att’y Gen., State of Geor­gia (Dec. 21, 2012), avail­able at http://www.justice.gov/crt/records/vot/obj_letters/letters/GA/l_121221.pdf

[38] Sandy Hodson, City Wins Lawsuit over Change in Elec­tion Date for Local Offices, The Augusta Chron­icle (May 13, 2004), http://chron­icle.augusta.com/news/govern­ment/elec­tions/2014–05–13/city-wins-lawsuit-over-change-elec­tion-date-local-offices; Maggie Lee, Macon-Bibb Legis­lat­ors React After Tues­day Wins, The Tele­graph (Macon, Ga.) (May 21, 2014), http://www.macon.com/2014/05/21/3109205/macon-bibb-legis­lat­ors-react-after.html?sp=/99/148/198/415/.

[39] Table of Voter Turnout in General Primary/General Nonpar­tisan/Special Elec­tion (May 20, 2014), Geor­gia Secret­ary of State, avail­able at http://results.enr.clar­ityelec­tions.com/GA/51345/132192/en/vt_data.html.

[40] Augusta-Rich­mond County General Elec­tion Results 2010, Augusta-Rich­mond County Board of Elec­tions, avail­able at http://appweb.august­aga.gov/board_elec­tions/voter/elect­ab10ge/totals.asp?RaceID=310.

[41] Some private plaintiffs also raised consti­tu­tional and state law claims, which could also be a basis for strik­ing down the law. See Ortiz, et al. v. State of Texas, No. 2:13-cv-00348 (S.D. Tex. Nov. 5, 2013), ECF No. 1. The Ortiz suit has been consol­id­ated with other chal­lenges to the Texas ID law. Order, Veasey v. Perry, No. 2:13-cv-193 (S.D. Tex., Jan. 10, 2014), avail­able at http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/elec­tion­law/litig­a­tion/docu­ments/Consol­id­at­ing.pdf (grant­ing motion to consol­id­ate cases).  

[42] See Notice of Pending Matters and Submis­sion of Proposed Orders at 8–10, Veasey v. Perry, No. 2:13-cv-193 (S.D. Tex., June 4, 2014), avail­able at http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/elec­tion­law/litig­a­tion/docu­ments/Veasey3441.pdf.

[43] See Joint Status Report Regard­ing Defs.’ and the State Legis­lat­ors’ Doc. Produc. at 4–7, N.C. State Confer­ence of the NAACP, et al. v. McCrory, No. 1:13-cv-658 (M.D.N.C. May 22, 2014), avail­able at http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/elec­tion­law/litig­a­tion/docu­ments/League168.pdf  (list­ing coun­sel of record).

[44] See Kennie Def.-Inter­ven­ors’ Mot. For Att’ys’ Fees, Expenses, and Costs With Support­ing P. & A. at 27, Texas v. Holder, No. 1:12-cv-00128 (D.D.C. Sept. 10, 2013), ECF No. 130.

[45] U.S. Dept. of Justice, Section Five Changes by Type and Year, http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/sec_5/changes_10s.php.

[46] Id.