The History of the Voting Rights Act: The Origins of the Preclearance Provision

The Takeaway
In June, the Supreme Court ruled Section Four of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. Depending on who you talk to, the decision either gutted the legislation or deeply diminished its strength. At the center of the Supreme Court's decision was a formula used to define which states and counties were subject to federal review of election laws. Without the formula, states are now free to enact changes to their election laws with no oversight–and they aren't wasting any time. Gary May is a professor of history at the University of Delaware and the author of "Bending Toward Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy." In it he explores the origins of the Voting Rights Act and answers the question: Why wasn't the preclearance test applied to all states and localities in the U.S. rather than the selective ones of the Voting Rights Act?  May joins The Takeaway to discuss what voting registration and voting was like before the Act was passed in 1965, and why it singled out specific areas of the country. Stay up to date with The Takeaway–become a Facebook fan & follow us on Twitter!