States covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act are discriminated against unfairly
States singled out by the Voting Rights Act have a history of racial discrimination
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was enacted to stem voter suppression on the basis of race in the South. The law contains a provision -- Section 5 -- that identifies the worst historical offenders and requires that election changes in those jurisdictions pass federal review. The areas covered by this provision were not chosen capriciously. The last time the Voting Rights Act was reauthorized in 2006, former President Bush cited past racial discrimination in the South as a reason for its continued relevance:
The Voting Rights Act that broke the segregationist lock on the ballot box rose from the courage shown on a Selma bridge one Sunday afternoon in March of 1965. On that day, African Americans, including a member of the United States Congress, John Lewis -- (applause) -- marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a protest intended to highlight the unfair practices that kept them off the voter rolls.
The brutal response showed America why a march was necessary.
In four decades since the Voting Rights Act was first passed, we've made progress toward equality, yet the work for a more perfect union is never ending. We'll continue to build on the legal equality won by the civil rights movement to help ensure that every person enjoys the opportunity that this great land of liberty offers.