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The Voting Rights Act

The Voting Rights Act
The voting rights act, which was initially adopted in 1965, then extended in 1970, 1975, and 1982, is widely considered the most revolutionary and successful piece of civil rights legislation in the history of the United States Congress. The voting right acts, in total, codify the 15th Amendment’s guarantee that throughout the entire nation, no individual can be denied the right to vote based on their race or color of their skin. Additionally, the voting rights act incorporates a number of unique provisions that place even more scrupulous requirements in specific jurisdictions throughout the nation.

The voting rights act was initially adopted at a time when race relations were tumultuous; African Americans were disfranchised in a number of Southern states. The voting rights act, to ensure American citizens their guaranteed rights as outlined by the United States Constitution, restored the right to vote through an intrusion in matters that were previously relegated by the individual state governments.

The voting rights acts were attached with numerous sub sections that attacked the injustices previously enforced by state governments. For example, Section 4 of the voting rights act ended the use of literacy requirements for voting in the following Southern states: Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Virginia. 

In addition, Section 5 of the voting rights act stated that any voting changes made by state governments were not enforceable unless approved by a three judge court in Washington D.C. or by the Attorney General of the United States. Through these sanctions, the voting rights act effectively stripped state governments from instituting unjust laws that prevented minorities from voting in the United State’s Presidential Election.