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Under the Voting Rights Act, jurisdictions with histories of racial discrimination in their political practices may not make any changes affecting voting without advance approval – or preclearance – from the Justice Department or the federal trial court in Washington, D.C. The states and counties subject to preclearance were determined by a formula set out in Section 5 of the law. The Supreme Court declared the formula unconstitutionally outdated in 2013. The 5-4 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder did not strike down Section 5, but without a formula the preclearance requirement is unenforceable.

Learn more about preclearance.

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