South Dakota Officials Pleased with Ruling on Voting Rights
South Dakota officials say they are pleased with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a federal law requiring federal approval of state and local laws that might restrict the voting rights of minorities.
A divided Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act -- a provision that determines which states and localities have to get Washington's approval to make changes in election laws.
The justices said the law relies on data from 40 years ago -- numbers that don't reflect racial progress and changes in U.S. society.
The decision effectively puts an end to the advance approval requirement that has been used, mainly in the South, to open up polling places to minority voters since the law was first enacted in 1965.
South Dakota is fortunate according to Secretary of State Jason Gant that there are no changes pending because of the Supreme Court decision. All election rules that South Dakota lawmakers proposed were accepted by the Feds. Gant says that Texas, for example, will now proceed with its voter ID law because the Supreme Court struck down the statute.
Gant Happy That South Dakota Is Clean According To Federal Rules
One of the notable effects of the federal law according to Gant is that on the Legislative District Map (below) is that you have districts labelled A and B. It’s not because of any lawsuit or threat of lawsuit that prompted the district boundaries to be set that way. However, the federal government had to approve the changes because it involved Shannon and Todd Counties who were subject to the election law before it was struck down.
Gant Says Redistricting Was Affected Somewhat By Election Law
The Associated Press contributed to this report.