Summary: S.1279 — 94th Congress (1975-1976)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to Senate with amendment(s) (07/22/1975)

(Reported to Senate from the Committee on the Judiciary with amendment, S. Rept. 94-295)

=Title I:= Extends for 10 years the provisions of the Voting Rights Act relating to: (1) the automatic formula by which States and their subdivisions are covered by such Act; (2) the prohibition on tests or devices as prerequisites to registering or voting; (3) the freeze on electoral laws and procedures unless certification is granted by the Attorney General; and (4) the provisions for Federal listing of persons eligible to register and the Federal monitoring of elections.

Establishes a permanent nationwide ban on literacy tests and other similar devices.

=Title II:= Exempts jurisdiction covered by the Voting Rights Act from the provisions of this title prohibiting tests or devices, unless the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in an action for a declaratory judgment brought by a State or subdivision has determined that no such test or device has been used during the preceding ten years.

Provides that a jurisdiction is covered if: (1) the Attorney General determines that a State or political subdivision maintained a "test or device" on November 1, 1972 as a qualification for voting; and (2) the Director of the Census determines that less than 50 percent of the citizens of voting age residing in any State or political subdivision of a State were registered to vote on November 1, 1972, or voted in the presidential election of 1972.

Prohibits States and local governments from enacting any voting procedure to deny or abridge the right to vote of any citizen because he is a member of a language minority group.

Determines that a jurisdiction employs a "test or device" if it provided any registration or voting notices, forms, instructions, assistance, or other materials or information relating to the electoral process, including ballots, to eligible voters only in the English language, and the Director of the Census determines that more than five percent of the citizens of voting age residing in the jurisdiction are members of a single language minority.

Requires that whenever any jurisdiction covered under this title provides to the public any registration or voting notices, forms, instructions, assistance or other materials or information relating to the electoral process, including ballots, it must provide them in the language of the minority group.

Freezes the electoral laws and procedures of newly covered jurisdictions as of November 1, 1972. Adds the Fourteenth Amendment as a basis for denial of voting rights under this Act.

=Title III:= Prohibits, for 10 years, State and local officials from providing English-only registration and election materials if more than five percent of the citizens of voting age in the jurisdiction are of a single language minority and the illiteracy rate of the language minority group citizens is higher than the national illiteracy rate for all persons of voting age.

Requires that whenever any jurisdiction covered under this title provides official registration or election materials, those materials must be provided in the language of the applicable language minority group as well as in English.

Removes any jurisdiction subject to this title from coverage if it can demonstrate before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia that the illiteracy rate among voting age members of the language minority group is less than the national illiteracy rate.

Authorizes Attorney General suits whenever he believes that there has been a violation of the prohibitions of title III. Authorizes criminal penalties whenever there are violations of the prohibitions of title III.

=Title IV:= Allows the court in a suit brought by a private party to grant to special remedies of the Voting Rights Act. Authorizes the payment of attorney's fees to prevailing parties in suits brought to enforce the guarantees of the Fourteenth or Fifteenth Amendments, and in suits brought under additionally specified provisions of Federal law.

Directs the Director of the Census to collect, and report to the Congress after January 1, 1976, following each congressional election, registration and voting statistics by race or color and national origin in every jurisdiction covered by the Voting Rights Act.

Directs the Attorney General to institute such actions against States or political subdivisions as he may determine to be necessary to implement the Twenty-sixth Amendment (18-year-old vote).