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116th Congress    }                                     {       Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session      }                                     {      116-317

======================================================================



 
                 VOTING RIGHTS ADVANCEMENT ACT OF 2019

                                _______
                                

 November 29, 2019.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Nadler, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                         [To accompany H.R. 4]

    The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 4) to amend the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to revise 
the criteria for determining which States and political 
subdivisions are subject to section 4 of the Act, and for other 
purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon 
with an amendment and recommend that the bill as amended do 
pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................    10
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................    11
Hearings.........................................................    67
Committee Consideration..........................................    67
Committee Votes..................................................    68
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................    72
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures and Congressional 
  Budget Office Cost Estimate....................................    72
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................    72
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................    72
Advisory on Earmarks.............................................    72
Section-by-Section Analysis......................................    72
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............    78
Dissenting Views.................................................    99
Appendix.........................................................   108

    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Voting Rights Advancement Act of 
2019''.

SEC. 2. VIOLATIONS TRIGGERING AUTHORITY OF COURT TO RETAIN 
                    JURISDICTION.

  (a) Types of Violations.--Section 3(c) of the Voting Rights Act of 
1965 (52 U.S.C. 10302(c)) is amended by striking ``violations of the 
fourteenth or fifteenth amendment'' and inserting ``violations of the 
14th or 15th Amendment, violations of this Act, or violations of any 
Federal law that prohibits discrimination in voting on the basis of 
race, color, or membership in a language minority group,''.
  (b) Conforming Amendment.--Section 3(a) of such Act (52 U.S.C. 
10302(a)) is amended by striking ``violations of the fourteenth or 
fifteenth amendment'' and inserting ``violations of the 14th or 15th 
Amendment, violations of this Act, or violations of any Federal law 
that prohibits discrimination in voting on the basis of race, color, or 
membership in a language minority group,''.

SEC. 3. CRITERIA FOR COVERAGE OF STATES AND POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS.

  (a) Determination of States and Political Subdivisions Subject to 
Section 4(a).--
          (1) In general.--Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 
        1965 (52 U.S.C. 10303(b)) is amended to read as follows:
  ``(b) Determination of States and Political Subdivisions Subject to 
Requirements.--
          ``(1) Existence of voting rights violations during previous 
        25 years.--
                  ``(A) Statewide application.--Subsection (a) applies 
                with respect to a State and all political subdivisions 
                within the State during a calendar year if--
                          ``(i) 15 or more voting rights violations 
                        occurred in the State during the previous 25 
                        calendar years; or
                          ``(ii) 10 or more voting rights violations 
                        occurred in the State during the previous 25 
                        calendar years, at least one of which was 
                        committed by the State itself (as opposed to a 
                        political subdivision within the State).
                  ``(B) Application to specific political 
                subdivisions.--Subsection (a) applies with respect to a 
                political subdivision as a separate unit during a 
                calendar year if 3 or more voting rights violations 
                occurred in the subdivision during the previous 25 
                calendar years.
          ``(2) Period of application.--
                  ``(A) In general.--Except as provided in subparagraph 
                (B), if, pursuant to paragraph (1), subsection (a) 
                applies with respect to a State or political 
                subdivision during a calendar year, subsection (a) 
                shall apply with respect to such State or political 
                subdivision for the period--
                          ``(i) that begins on January 1 of the year in 
                        which subsection (a) applies; and
                          ``(ii) that ends on the date which is 10 
                        years after the date described in clause (i).
                  ``(B) No further application after declaratory 
                judgment.--
                          ``(i) States.--If a State obtains a 
                        declaratory judgment under subsection (a), and 
                        the judgment remains in effect, subsection (a) 
                        shall no longer apply to such State pursuant to 
                        paragraph (1)(A) unless, after the issuance of 
                        the declaratory judgment, paragraph (1)(A) 
                        applies to the State solely on the basis of 
                        voting rights violations occurring after the 
                        issuance of the declaratory judgment.
                          ``(ii) Political subdivisions.--If a 
                        political subdivision obtains a declaratory 
                        judgment under subsection (a), and the judgment 
                        remains in effect, subsection (a) shall no 
                        longer apply to such political subdivision 
                        pursuant to paragraph (1), including pursuant 
                        to paragraph (1)(A) (relating to the statewide 
                        application of subsection (a)), unless, after 
                        the issuance of the declaratory judgment, 
                        paragraph (1)(B) applies to the political 
                        subdivision solely on the basis of voting 
                        rights violations occurring after the issuance 
                        of the declaratory judgment.
          ``(3) Determination of voting rights violation.--For purposes 
        of paragraph (1), a voting rights violation occurred in a State 
        or political subdivision if any of the following applies:
                  ``(A) Final judgment; violation of the 14th or 15th 
                amendment.--In a final judgment (which has not been 
                reversed on appeal), any court of the United States has 
                determined that a denial or abridgement of the right of 
                any citizen of the United States to vote on account of 
                race, color, or membership in a language minority 
                group, in violation of the 14th or 15th Amendment, 
                occurred anywhere within the State or subdivision.
                  ``(B) Final judgment; violations of this act.--In a 
                final judgment (which has not been reversed on appeal), 
                any court of the United States has determined that a 
                voting qualification or prerequisite to voting or 
                standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting 
                was imposed or applied or would have been imposed or 
                applied anywhere within the State or subdivision in a 
                manner that resulted or would have resulted in a denial 
                or abridgement of the right of any citizen of the 
                United States to vote on account of race, color, or 
                membership in a language minority group, in violation 
                of subsection (e) or (f), or section 2 or 203 of this 
                Act.
                  ``(C) Final judgment; denial of declaratory 
                judgment.--In a final judgment (which has not been 
                reversed on appeal), any court of the United States has 
                denied the request of the State or subdivision for a 
                declaratory judgment under section 3(c) or section 5, 
                and thereby prevented a voting qualification or 
                prerequisite to voting or standard, practice, or 
                procedure with respect to voting from being enforced 
                anywhere within the State or subdivision.
                  ``(D) Objection by the attorney general.--The 
                Attorney General has interposed an objection under 
                section 3(c) or section 5 (and the objection has not 
                been overturned by a final judgment of a court or 
                withdrawn by the Attorney General), and thereby 
                prevented a voting qualification or prerequisite to 
                voting or standard, practice, or procedure with respect 
                to voting from being enforced anywhere within the State 
                or subdivision.
                  ``(E) Consent decree, settlement, or other 
                agreement.--A consent decree, settlement, or other 
                agreement was entered into, which resulted in the 
                alteration or abandonment of a voting practice anywhere 
                in the territory of such State that was challenged on 
                the ground that the practice denied or abridged the 
                right of any citizen of the United States to vote on 
                account of race, color, or membership in a language 
                minority group in violation of subsection (e) or (f), 
                or section 2 or 203 of this Act, or the 14th or 15th 
                Amendment.
          ``(4) Timing of determinations.--
                  ``(A) Determinations of voting rights violations.--As 
                early as practicable during each calendar year, the 
                Attorney General shall make the determinations required 
                by this subsection, including updating the list of 
                voting rights violations occurring in each State and 
                political subdivision for the previous calendar year.
                  ``(B) Effective upon publication in federal 
                register.--A determination or certification of the 
                Attorney General under this section or under section 8 
                or 13 shall be effective upon publication in the 
                Federal Register.''.
          (2) Conforming amendments.--Section 4(a) of such Act (52 
        U.S.C. 10303(a)) is amended--
                  (A) in paragraph (1), in the first sentence of the 
                matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking ``any 
                State with respect to which'' and all that follows 
                through ``unless'' and inserting ``any State to which 
                this subsection applies during a calendar year pursuant 
                to determinations made under subsection (b), or in any 
                political subdivision of such State (as such 
                subdivision existed on the date such determinations 
                were made with respect to such State), though such 
                determinations were not made with respect to such 
                subdivision as a separate unit, or in any political 
                subdivision with respect to which this subsection 
                applies during a calendar year pursuant to 
                determinations made with respect to such subdivision as 
                a separate unit under subsection (b), unless'';
                  (B) in paragraph (1) in the matter preceding 
                subparagraph (A), by striking the second sentence;
                  (C) in paragraph (1)(A), by striking ``(in the case 
                of a State or subdivision seeking a declaratory 
                judgment under the second sentence of this 
                subsection)'';
                  (D) in paragraph (1)(B), by striking ``(in the case 
                of a State or subdivision seeking a declaratory 
                judgment under the second sentence of this 
                subsection)'';
                  (E) in paragraph (3), by striking ``(in the case of a 
                State or subdivision seeking a declaratory judgment 
                under the second sentence of this subsection)'';
                  (F) in paragraph (5), by striking ``(in the case of a 
                State or subdivision which sought a declaratory 
                judgment under the second sentence of this 
                subsection)'';
                  (G) by striking paragraphs (7) and (8); and
                  (H) by redesignating paragraph (9) as paragraph (7).
  (b) Clarification of Treatment of Members of Language Minority 
Groups.--Section 4(a)(1) of such Act (52 U.S.C. 10303(a)(1)) is amended 
by striking ``race or color,'' and inserting ``race, color, or in 
contravention of the guarantees of subsection (f)(2),''.

SEC. 4. DETERMINATION OF STATES AND POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS SUBJECT TO 
                    PRECLEARANCE FOR COVERED PRACTICES.

  The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (52 U.S.C. 10301 et seq.) is further 
amended by inserting after section 4 the following:

``SEC. 4A. DETERMINATION OF STATES AND POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS SUBJECT 
                    TO PRECLEARANCE FOR COVERED PRACTICES.

  ``(a) Practice-Based Preclearance.--
          ``(1) In general.--Each State and each political subdivision 
        shall--
                  ``(A) identify any newly enacted or adopted law, 
                regulation, or policy that includes a voting 
                qualification or prerequisite to voting, or a standard, 
                practice, or procedure with respect to voting, that is 
                a covered practice described in subsection (b); and
                  ``(B) ensure that no such covered practice is 
                implemented unless or until the State or political 
                subdivision, as the case may be, complies with 
                subsection (c).
          ``(2) Determinations of characteristics of voting-age 
        population.--
                  ``(A) In general.--As early as practicable during 
                each calendar year, the Attorney General, in 
                consultation with the Director of the Bureau of the 
                Census and the heads of other relevant offices of the 
                government, shall make the determinations required by 
                this section regarding voting-age populations and the 
                characteristics of such populations, and shall publish 
                a list of the States and political subdivisions to 
                which a voting-age population characteristic described 
                in subsection (b) applies.
                  ``(B) Publication in the federal register.--A 
                determination or certification of the Attorney General 
                under this paragraph shall be effective upon 
                publication in the Federal Register.
  ``(b) Covered Practices.--To assure that the right of citizens of the 
United States to vote is not denied or abridged on account of race, 
color, or membership in a language minority group as a result of the 
implementation of certain qualifications or prerequisites to voting, or 
standards, practices, or procedures with respect to voting newly 
adopted in a State or political subdivision, the following shall be 
covered practices subject to the requirements described in subsection 
(a):
          ``(1) Changes to method of election.--Any change to the 
        method of election--
                  ``(A) to add seats elected at-large in a State or 
                political subdivision where--
                          ``(i) 2 or more racial groups or language 
                        minority groups each represent 20 percent or 
                        more of the political subdivision's voting-age 
                        population; or
                          ``(ii) a single language minority group 
                        represents 20 percent or more of the voting-age 
                        population on Indian lands located in whole or 
                        in part in the political subdivision; or
                  ``(B) to convert one or more seats elected from a 
                single-member district to one or more at-large seats or 
                seats from a multi-member district in a State or 
                political subdivision where--
                          ``(i) 2 or more racial groups or language 
                        minority groups each represent 20 percent or 
                        more of the political subdivision's voting-age 
                        population; or
                          ``(ii) a single language minority group 
                        represents 20 percent or more of the voting-age 
                        population on Indian lands located in whole or 
                        in part in the political subdivision.
          ``(2) Changes to jurisdiction boundaries.--Any change or 
        series of changes within a year to the boundaries of a 
        jurisdiction that reduces by 3 or more percentage points the 
        proportion of the jurisdiction's voting-age population that is 
        comprised of members of a single racial group or language 
        minority group in a State or political subdivision where--
                  ``(A) 2 or more racial groups or language minority 
                groups each represent 20 percent or more of the 
                political subdivision's voting-age population; or
                  ``(B) a single language minority group represents 20 
                percent or more of the voting-age population on Indian 
                lands located in whole or in part in the political 
                subdivision.
          ``(3) Changes through redistricting.--Any change to the 
        boundaries of election districts in a State or political 
        subdivision where any racial group or language minority group 
        experiences a population increase, over the preceding decade 
        (as calculated by the Bureau of the Census under the most 
        recent decennial census), of at least--
                  ``(A) 10,000; or
                  ``(B) 20 percent of voting-age population of the 
                State or political subdivision, as the case may be.
          ``(4) Changes in documentation or qualifications to vote.--
        Any change to requirements for documentation or proof of 
        identity to vote such that the requirements will exceed or be 
        more stringent than the requirements for voting that are 
        described in section 303(b) of the Help America Vote Act of 
        2002 (52 U.S.C. 21083(b)) or any change to the requirements for 
        documentation or proof of identity to register to vote that 
        will exceed or be more stringent than such requirements under 
        State law on the day before the date of enactment of the Voting 
        Rights Advancement Act of 2019.
          ``(5) Changes to multilingual voting materials.--Any change 
        that reduces multilingual voting materials or alters the manner 
        in which such materials are provided or distributed, where no 
        similar reduction or alteration occurs in materials provided in 
        English for such election.
          ``(6) Changes that reduce, consolidate, or relocate voting 
        locations.--Any change that reduces, consolidates, or relocates 
        voting locations, including early, absentee, and election-day 
        voting locations--
                  ``(A) in 1 or more census tracts wherein 2 or more 
                language minority groups or racial groups each 
                represent 20 percent or more of the voting-age 
                population of the political subdivision; or
                  ``(B) on Indian lands wherein at least 20 percent of 
                the voting-age population belongs to a single language 
                minority group.
  ``(c) Preclearance.--
          ``(1) In general.--Whenever a State or political subdivision 
        with respect to which the requirements set forth in subsection 
        (a) are in effect shall enact, adopt, or seek to implement any 
        covered practice described under subsection (b), such State or 
        subdivision may institute an action in the United States 
        District Court for the District of Columbia for a declaratory 
        judgment that such covered practice neither has the purpose nor 
        will have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote 
        on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority 
        group, and unless and until the court enters such judgment such 
        covered practice shall not be implemented. Notwithstanding the 
        previous sentence, such covered practice may be implemented 
        without such proceeding if the covered practice has been 
        submitted by the chief legal officer or other appropriate 
        official of such State or subdivision to the Attorney General 
        and the Attorney General has not interposed an objection within 
        60 days after such submission, or upon good cause shown, to 
        facilitate an expedited approval within 60 days after such 
        submission, the Attorney General has affirmatively indicated 
        that such objection will not be made. Neither an affirmative 
        indication by the Attorney General that no objection will be 
        made, nor the Attorney General's failure to object, nor a 
        declaratory judgment entered under this section shall bar a 
        subsequent action to enjoin implementation of such covered 
        practice. In the event the Attorney General affirmatively 
        indicates that no objection will be made within the 60-day 
        period following receipt of a submission, the Attorney General 
        may reserve the right to reexamine the submission if additional 
        information comes to the Attorney General's attention during 
        the remainder of the 60-day period which would otherwise 
        require objection in accordance with this section. Any action 
        under this section shall be heard and determined by a court of 
        three judges in accordance with the provisions of section 2284 
        of title 28, United States Code, and any appeal shall lie to 
        the Supreme Court.
          ``(2) Denying or abridging the right to vote.--Any covered 
        practice described in subsection (b) that has the purpose of or 
        will have the effect of diminishing the ability of any citizens 
        of the United States on account of race, color, or membership 
        in a language minority group, to elect their preferred 
        candidates of choice denies or abridges the right to vote 
        within the meaning of paragraph (1) of this subsection.
          ``(3) Purpose defined.--The term `purpose' in paragraphs (1) 
        and (2) of this subsection shall include any discriminatory 
        purpose.
          ``(4) Purpose of paragraph (2).--The purpose of paragraph (2) 
        of this subsection is to protect the ability of such citizens 
        to elect their preferred candidates of choice.
  ``(d) Enforcement.--The Attorney General or any aggrieved citizen may 
file an action in a Federal district court to compel any State or 
political subdivision to satisfy the obligations set forth in this 
section. Such actions shall be heard and determined by a court of 3 
judges under section 2284 of title 28, United States Code. In any such 
action, the court shall provide as a remedy that any voting 
qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or 
procedure with respect to voting, that is the subject of the action 
under this subsection be enjoined unless the court determines that--
          ``(1) the voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or 
        standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting, is not 
        a covered practice described in subsection (b); or
          ``(2) the State or political subdivision has complied with 
        subsection (c) with respect to the covered practice at issue.
  ``(e) Counting of Racial Groups and Language Minority Groups.--For 
purposes of this section, the calculation of the population of a racial 
group or a language minority group shall be carried out using the 
methodology in the guidance promulgated in the Federal Register on 
February 9, 2011 (76 Fed. Reg. 7470).
  ``(f) Special Rule.--For purposes of determinations under this 
section, any data provided by the Bureau of the Census, whether based 
on estimation from sample or actual enumeration, shall not be subject 
to challenge or review in any court.
  ``(g) Multilingual Voting Materials.--In this section, the term 
`multilingual voting materials' means registration or voting notices, 
forms, instructions, assistance, or other materials or information 
relating to the electoral process, including ballots, provided in the 
language or languages of one or more language minority groups.''.

SEC. 5. PROMOTING TRANSPARENCY TO ENFORCE THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT.

  (a) Transparency.--
          (1) In general.--The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (52 U.S.C. 
        10301 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 5 the 
        following new section:

``SEC. 6. TRANSPARENCY REGARDING CHANGES TO PROTECT VOTING RIGHTS.

  ``(a) Notice of Enacted Changes.--
          ``(1) Notice of changes.--If a State or political subdivision 
        makes any change in any prerequisite to voting or standard, 
        practice, or procedure with respect to voting in any election 
        for Federal office that will result in the prerequisite, 
        standard, practice, or procedure being different from that 
        which was in effect as of 180 days before the date of the 
        election for Federal office, the State or political subdivision 
        shall provide reasonable public notice in such State or 
        political subdivision and on the Internet, of a concise 
        description of the change, including the difference between the 
        changed prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure and the 
        prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure which was 
        previously in effect. The public notice described in this 
        paragraph, in such State or political subdivision and on the 
        Internet, shall be in a format that is reasonably convenient 
        and accessible to voters with disabilities, including voters 
        who have low vision or are blind.
          ``(2) Deadline for notice.--A State or political subdivision 
        shall provide the public notice required under paragraph (1) 
        not later than 48 hours after making the change involved.
  ``(b) Transparency Regarding Polling Place Resources.--
          ``(1) In general.--In order to identify any changes that may 
        impact the right to vote of any person, prior to the 30th day 
        before the date of an election for Federal office, each State 
        or political subdivision with responsibility for allocating 
        registered voters, voting machines, and official poll workers 
        to particular precincts and polling places shall provide 
        reasonable public notice in such State or political subdivision 
        and on the Internet, of the information described in paragraph 
        (2) for precincts and polling places within such State or 
        political subdivision. The public notice described in this 
        paragraph, in such State or political subdivision and on the 
        Internet, shall be in a format that is reasonably convenient 
        and accessible to voters with disabilities including voters who 
        have low vision or are blind.
          ``(2) Information described.--The information described in 
        this paragraph with respect to a precinct or polling place is 
        each of the following:
                  ``(A) The name or number.
                  ``(B) In the case of a polling place, the location, 
                including the street address, and whether such polling 
                place is accessible to persons with disabilities.
                  ``(C) The voting-age population of the area served by 
                the precinct or polling place, broken down by 
                demographic group if such breakdown is reasonably 
                available to such State or political subdivision.
                  ``(D) The number of registered voters assigned to the 
                precinct or polling place, broken down by demographic 
                group if such breakdown is reasonably available to such 
                State or political subdivision.
                  ``(E) The number of voting machines assigned, 
                including the number of voting machines accessible to 
                voters with disabilities, including voters who have low 
                vision or are blind.
                  ``(F) The number of official paid poll workers 
                assigned.
                  ``(G) The number of official volunteer poll workers 
                assigned.
                  ``(H) In the case of a polling place, the dates and 
                hours of operation.
          ``(3) Updates in information reported.--If a State or 
        political subdivision makes any change in any of the 
        information described in paragraph (2), the State or political 
        subdivision shall provide reasonable public notice in such 
        State or political subdivision and on the Internet, of the 
        change in the information not later than 48 hours after the 
        change occurs or, if the change occurs fewer than 48 hours 
        before the date of the election for Federal office, as soon as 
        practicable after the change occurs. The public notice 
        described in this paragraph in such State or political 
        subdivision and on the Internet shall be in a format that is 
        reasonably convenient and accessible to voters with 
        disabilities including voters who have low vision or are blind.
  ``(c) Transparency of Changes Relating to Demographics and Electoral 
Districts.--
          ``(1) Requiring public notice of changes.--Not later than 10 
        days after making any change in the constituency that will 
        participate in an election for Federal, State, or local office 
        or the boundaries of a voting unit or electoral district in an 
        election for Federal, State, or local office (including through 
        redistricting, reapportionment, changing from at-large 
        elections to district-based elections, or changing from 
        district-based elections to at-large elections), a State or 
        political subdivision shall provide reasonable public notice in 
        such State or political subdivision and on the Internet, of the 
        demographic and electoral data described in paragraph (3) for 
        each of the geographic areas described in paragraph (2).
          ``(2) Geographic areas described.--The geographic areas 
        described in this paragraph are as follows:
                  ``(A) The State as a whole, if the change applies 
                statewide, or the political subdivision as a whole, if 
                the change applies across the entire political 
                subdivision.
                  ``(B) If the change includes a plan to replace or 
                eliminate voting units or electoral districts, each 
                voting unit or electoral district that will be replaced 
                or eliminated.
                  ``(C) If the change includes a plan to establish new 
                voting units or electoral districts, each such new 
                voting unit or electoral district.
          ``(3) Demographic and electoral data.--The demographic and 
        electoral data described in this paragraph with respect to a 
        geographic area described in paragraph (2) are each of the 
        following:
                  ``(A) The voting-age population, broken down by 
                demographic group.
                  ``(B) If it is reasonably available to the State or 
                political subdivision involved, an estimate of the 
                population of the area which consists of citizens of 
                the United States who are 18 years of age or older, 
                broken down by demographic group.
                  ``(C) The number of registered voters, broken down by 
                demographic group if such breakdown is reasonably 
                available to the State or political subdivision 
                involved.
                  ``(D)(i) If the change applies to a State, the actual 
                number of votes, or (if it is not reasonably 
                practicable for the State to ascertain the actual 
                number of votes) the estimated number of votes received 
                by each candidate in each statewide election held 
                during the 5-year period which ends on the date the 
                change involved is made; and
                  ``(ii) if the change applies to only one political 
                subdivision, the actual number of votes, or (if it is 
                not reasonably practicable for the political 
                subdivision to ascertain the actual number of votes) in 
                each subdivision-wide election held during the 5-year 
                period which ends on the date the change involved is 
                made.
          ``(4) Voluntary compliance by smaller jurisdictions.--
        Compliance with this subsection shall be voluntary for a 
        political subdivision of a State unless the subdivision is one 
        of the following:
                  ``(A) A county or parish.
                  ``(B) A municipality with a population greater than 
                10,000, as determined by the Bureau of the Census under 
                the most recent decennial census.
                  ``(C) A school district with a population greater 
                than 10,000, as determined by the Bureau of the Census 
                under the most recent decennial census. For purposes of 
                this subparagraph, the term `school district' means the 
                geographic area under the jurisdiction of a local 
                educational agency (as defined in section 9101 of the 
                Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965).
  ``(d) Rules Regarding Format of Information.--The Attorney General 
may issue rules specifying a reasonably convenient and accessible 
format that States and political subdivisions shall use to provide 
public notice of information under this section.
  ``(e) No Denial of Right to Vote.--The right to vote of any person 
shall not be denied or abridged because the person failed to comply 
with any change made by a State or political subdivision to a voting 
qualification, standard, practice, or procedure if the State or 
political subdivision involved did not meet the applicable requirements 
of this section with respect to the change.
  ``(f) Definitions.--In this section--
          ``(1) the term `demographic group' means each group which 
        section 2 protects from the denial or abridgement of the right 
        to vote on account of race or color, or in contravention of the 
        guarantees set forth in section 4(f)(2);
          ``(2) the term `election for Federal office' means any 
        general, special, primary, or runoff election held solely or in 
        part for the purpose of electing any candidate for the office 
        of President, Vice President, Presidential elector, Senator, 
        Member of the House of Representatives, or Delegate or Resident 
        Commissioner to the Congress; and
          ``(3) the term `persons with disabilities', means individuals 
        with a disability, as defined in section 3 of the Americans 
        with Disabilities Act of 1990.''.
          (2) Conforming amendment.--Section 3(a) of such Act (52 
        U.S.C. 10302(a)) is amended by striking ``in accordance with 
        section 6''.
  (b) Effective Date.--The amendment made by subsection (a)(1) shall 
apply with respect to changes which are made on or after the expiration 
of the 60-day period which begins on the date of the enactment of this 
Act.

SEC. 6. AUTHORITY TO ASSIGN OBSERVERS.

  (a) Clarification of Authority in Political Subdivisions Subject to 
Preclearance.--Section 8(a)(2)(B) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (52 
U.S.C. 10305(a)(2)(B)) is amended to read as follows:
                  ``(B) in the Attorney General's judgment, the 
                assignment of observers is otherwise necessary to 
                enforce the guarantees of the 14th or 15th Amendment or 
                any provision of this Act or any other Federal law 
                protecting the right of citizens of the United States 
                to vote; or''.
  (b) Assignment of Observers To Enforce Bilingual Election 
Requirements.--Section 8(a) of such Act (52 U.S.C. 10305(a)) is 
amended--
          (1) by striking ``or'' at the end of paragraph (1);
          (2) by inserting after paragraph (2) the following:
          ``(3) the Attorney General certifies with respect to a 
        political subdivision that--
                  ``(A) the Attorney General has received written 
                meritorious complaints from residents, elected 
                officials, or civic participation organizations that 
                efforts to violate section 203 are likely to occur; or
                  ``(B) in the Attorney General's judgment, the 
                assignment of observers is necessary to enforce the 
                guarantees of section 203;''; and
          (3) by moving the margin for the continuation text following 
        paragraph (3), as added by paragraph (2) of this subsection, 
        two ems to the left.

SEC. 7. PRELIMINARY INJUNCTIVE RELIEF.

  (a) Clarification of Scope and Persons Authorized To Seek Relief.--
Section 12(d) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (52 U.S.C. 10308(d)) is 
amended--
          (1) by striking ``section 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, or 
        subsection (b) of this section'' and inserting ``the 14th or 
        15th Amendment, this Act, or any Federal voting rights law that 
        prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or 
        membership in a language minority group''; and
          (2) by striking ``the Attorney General may institute for the 
        United States, or in the name of the United States,'' and 
        inserting ``the aggrieved person or (in the name of the United 
        States) the Attorney General may institute''.
  (b) Grounds for Granting Relief.--Section 12(d) of such Act (52 
U.S.C. 10308(d)) is amended--
          (1) by striking ``(d) Whenever any person'' and inserting 
        ``(d)(1) Whenever any person'';
          (2) by striking ``(1) to permit'' and inserting ``(A) to 
        permit'';
          (3) by striking ``(2) to count'' and inserting ``(B) to 
        count''; and
          (4) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
  ``(2)(A) In any action for preliminary relief described in this 
subsection, the court shall grant the relief if the court determines 
that the complainant has raised a serious question whether the 
challenged voting qualification or prerequisite to voting or standard, 
practice, or procedure violates this Act or the Constitution and, on 
balance, the hardship imposed upon the defendant by the grant of the 
relief will be less than the hardship which would be imposed upon the 
plaintiff if the relief were not granted. In balancing the harms, the 
court shall give due weight to the fundamental right to cast an 
effective ballot.
  ``(B) In making its determination under this paragraph with respect 
to a change in any voting qualification, prerequisite to voting, or 
standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting, the court 
shall consider all relevant factors and give due weight to the 
following factors, if they are present:
          ``(i) Whether the qualification, prerequisite, standard, 
        practice, or procedure in effect prior to the change was 
        adopted as a remedy for a Federal court judgment, consent 
        decree, or admission regarding--
                  ``(I) discrimination on the basis of race or color in 
                violation of the 14th or 15th Amendment;
                  ``(II) a violation of this Act; or
                  ``(III) voting discrimination on the basis of race, 
                color, or membership in a language minority group in 
                violation of any other Federal or State law.
          ``(ii) Whether the qualification, prerequisite, standard, 
        practice, or procedure in effect prior to the change served as 
        a ground for the dismissal or settlement of a claim alleging--
                  ``(I) discrimination on the basis of race or color in 
                violation of the 14th or 15th Amendment;
                  ``(II) a violation of this Act; or
                  ``(III) voting discrimination on the basis of race, 
                color, or membership in a language minority group in 
                violation of any other Federal or State law.
          ``(iii) Whether the change was adopted fewer than 180 days 
        before the date of the election with respect to which the 
        change is to take effect.
          ``(iv) Whether the defendant has failed to provide timely or 
        complete notice of the adoption of the change as required by 
        applicable Federal or State law.''.
  (c) Grounds for Stay or Interlocutory Appeal.--Section 12(d) of such 
Act (52 U.S.C. 10308(d)) is further amended by adding at the end the 
following:
  ``(3) A jurisdiction's inability to enforce its voting or election 
laws, regulations, policies, or redistricting plans, standing alone, 
shall not be deemed to constitute irreparable harm to the public 
interest or to the interests of a defendant in an action arising under 
the U.S. Constitution or any Federal law that prohibits discrimination 
on the basis of race, color, or membership in a language minority group 
in the voting process, for the purposes of determining whether a stay 
of a court's order or an interlocutory appeal under section 1253 of 
title 28, United States Code, is warranted.''.

SEC. 8. DEFINITIONS.

  Title I of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (52 U.S.C. 10301) is amended 
by adding at the end the following:

``SEC. 21. DEFINITIONS.

  ``In this Act:
          ``(1) Indian.--The term `Indian' has the meaning given the 
        term in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and 
        Education Assistance Act.
          ``(2) Indian lands.--The term `Indian lands' means--
                  ``(A) any Indian country of an Indian tribe, as such 
                term is defined in section 1151 of title 18, United 
                States Code;
                  ``(B) any land in Alaska that is owned, pursuant to 
                the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, by an Indian 
                tribe that is a Native village (as such term is defined 
                in section 3 of such Act), or by a Village Corporation 
                that is associated with the Indian tribe (as such term 
                is defined in section 3 of such Act);
                  ``(C) any land on which the seat of government of the 
                Indian tribe is located; and
                  ``(D) any land that is part or all of a tribal 
                designated statistical area associated with the Indian 
                tribe, or is part or all of an Alaska Native village 
                statistical area associated with the tribe, as defined 
                by the Bureau of the Census for the purposes of the 
                most recent decennial census.
          ``(3) Indian tribe.--The term `Indian tribe' or `tribe' has 
        the meaning given the term `Indian tribe' in section 4 of the 
        Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act.
          ``(4) Tribal government.--The term `Tribal Government' means 
        the recognized governing body of an Indian Tribe.
          ``(5) Voting-age population.--The term `voting-age 
        population' means the numerical size of the population within a 
        State, within a political subdivision, or within a political 
        subdivision that contains Indian lands, as the case may be, 
        that consists of persons age 18 or older, as calculated by the 
        Bureau of the Census under the most recent decennial census.''.

SEC. 9. ATTORNEYS' FEES.

  Section 14(c) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (52 U.S.C. 10310(c)) 
is amended by adding at the end the following:
  ``(4) The term `prevailing party' means a party to an action that 
receives at least some of the benefit sought by such action, states a 
colorable claim, and can establish that the action was a significant 
cause of a change to the status quo.''.

SEC. 10. OTHER TECHNICAL AND CONFORMING AMENDMENTS.

  (a) Actions Covered Under Section 3.--Section 3(c) of the Voting 
Rights Act of 1965 (52 U.S.C. 10302(c)) is amended--
          (1) by striking ``any proceeding instituted by the Attorney 
        General or an aggrieved person under any statute to enforce'' 
        and inserting ``any action under any statute in which a party 
        (including the Attorney General) seeks to enforce''; and
          (2) by striking ``at the time the proceeding was commenced'' 
        and inserting ``at the time the action was commenced''.
  (b) Clarification of Treatment of Members of Language Minority 
Groups.--Section 4(f) of such Act (52 U.S.C. 10303(f)) is amended--
          (1) in paragraph (1), by striking the second sentence; and
          (2) by striking paragraphs (3) and (4).
  (c) Period During Which Changes in Voting Practices Are Subject to 
Preclearance Under Section 5.--Section 5 of such Act (52 U.S.C. 10304) 
is amended--
          (1) in subsection (a), by striking ``based upon 
        determinations made under the first sentence of section 4(b) 
        are in effect'' and inserting ``are in effect during a calendar 
        year'';
          (2) in subsection (a), by striking ``November 1, 1964'' and 
        all that follows through ``November 1, 1972'' and inserting 
        ``the applicable date of coverage''; and
          (3) by adding at the end the following new subsection:
  ``(e) The term `applicable date of coverage' means, with respect to a 
State or political subdivision--
          ``(1) June 25, 2013, if the most recent determination for 
        such State or subdivision under section 4(b) was made on or 
        before December 31, 2019; or
          ``(2) the date on which the most recent determination for 
        such State or subdivision under section 4(b) was made, if such 
        determination was made after December 31, 2019.''.

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 4, the ``Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019,'' 
builds on the extensive legislative record developed by the 
House Committee on the Judiciary (``Judiciary Committee'') 
during the consideration of the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, 
and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and 
Amendments Act of 2006, which reauthorized the Voting Rights 
Act of 1965\1\ (``VRA'' or ``Act'') for another 25 years.\2\ 
Both Houses of Congress assembled extensive evidence of the 
continuing need for preclearance in covered jurisdictions. The 
2006 Committee report accompanying the bill noted that the 
Judiciary Committee held a dozen hearings that included 
testimony from 39 witnesses, and assembled more than 12,000 
pages of testimony and documentary evidence from scholars, 
election officials, attorneys, the United States Department of 
Justice (``DOJ''), and various organizations.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Voting Rights Act of 1965, Pub. L. No 89-110, 79 Stat. 445 
(codified as amended at 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1973 to 1973aa-6 (2006).
    \2\Pub. L. No. 109-246 (2006).
    \3\H.R. Rep. No. 109-478, at 5 (2006).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    H.R. 4 amends the VRA in a variety of ways to reinvigorate 
the Act's enforcement mechanisms and, thereby, bolster its 
guarantee against voting discrimination by states and 
localities on the basis of race, color, or language-minority 
status. In sum, H.R. 4 creates a new coverage formula to 
determine which states will be subject to the VRA's 
preclearance requirement that is based on current evidence of 
voting discrimination in response to the Supreme Court's 
holding that the previous formula was outdated. In addition, 
the bill (1) establishes practice-based preclearance authority; 
(2) increases transparency by requiring reasonable public 
notice for voting changes; (3) expands judicial authority 
impose a preclearance requirement on a particular jurisdiction 
after finding violations of any Federal voting rights law; and 
(4) establishes an enhanced standard for injunctive relief. In 
combination, the changes will restore the VRA's vitality to 
protect the right of all Americas to have the equal opportunity 
to vote and participate in the political process.

                  Background and Need for Legislation


                               BACKGROUND

    On June 25, 2013, in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder,\4\ 
the Supreme Court struck down portions of the VRA, leaving 
American voters vulnerable to tactics of vote suppression and 
discrimination. Writing for the majority in the 5 to 4 
decision, Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged that ``voting 
discrimination still exists; no one doubts that,''\5\ however, 
he noted that the preclearance coverage formula in Section 4(b) 
of the VRA--which determines the jurisdictions that are subject 
to the VRA's preclearance requirement in Section 5 of the Act--
could ``no longer be used as a basis for subjecting 
jurisdictions to preclearance.''\6\ Chief Justice Roberts 
stated that the formula was unconstitutional because the 
coverage formula was ``based on decades-old data and eradicated 
practices,'' making it no longer responsive to current needs 
and therefore an impermissible burden on the constitutional 
principles of federalism and the equal sovereignty of 
states.\7\ He went on to state that the ``[Fifteenth] Amendment 
is not designed to punish for the past; its purpose is to 
ensure a better future'' and ``[t]o serve that purpose, 
Congress--if it is to divide the States--must identify those 
jurisdictions to be singled out on a basis that makes sense in 
light of current conditions.''\8\ Without Section 4(b), Section 
5 is inoperable until Congress enacts a new coverage formula, 
which the Court invited Congress to do.\9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\570 U.S. 529 (2013).
    \5\Shelby Cty., 570 U.S. at 536.
    \6\Id. at 557.
    \7\Id. at 551.
    \8\Id. at 553 (internal citations omitted).
    \9\See id. at 557.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

A. Oversight and Legislative Hearings

    At the outset of the 116th Congress, the Committee on House 
Administration, led by Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (D-California), 
reconstituted the Subcommittee on Elections, which had been 
eliminated six years earlier. Under the leadership of 
Chairperson Marcia L. Fudge (D-Ohio), the Subcommittee on 
Elections conducted an extensive review of the landscape of 
voting in America post-Shelby County and examined the current 
barriers to voting across the country. The Subcommittee on 
Elections took Congress to the American people, engaged with 
voters, stakeholders, officials and election administrators, 
and collected testimony and evidence on the state of voting 
rights and election administration to ensure every eligible 
American has equal and fair access to the ballot and the 
confidence their ballot is counted as cast.
    In November 2019, the Subcommittee of Elections issued a 
report titled, ``Voting Rights and Elections Administration in 
the United States of America,''\10\ which the Judiciary 
Committee has adopted in full as part of its legislative record 
in support of H.R. 4. Chairperson Fudge commented on Congress' 
critical role in protecting the right to vote for all eligible 
Americans:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \10\Report on Voting Rights and Election Administration in the 
United States of America, Subcomm. on Elections, H. Comm. on House 
Admin. (Nov. 2019) [hereinafter ``Subcommittee on Elections Report''].

          Nearly 6 years after the Supreme Court decided Shelby 
        County v. Holder, this report makes clear that voter 
        suppression and discrimination still exist. It is our 
        duty as elected Members of Congress to uphold and 
        defend the Constitution and protect the rights of the 
        voter. America is great because of her ability to 
        repair her faults. It is time for us to set the right 
        example as a democracy and encourage people to vote, 
        rather than continuing to erect barriers that seek to 
        suppress the vote and the voices of our 
        communities.\11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \11\Press Statement, Rep. Fudge Releases Report on Voting Rights 
and Elections Administration (Nov. 13, 2019), https://fudge.house.gov/
press-statements/rep-fudge-releases-report-on-voting-rights-and-
elections-administration/.

    To collect the contemporaneous evidence called for by the 
Supreme Court, the Subcommittee on Elections held hearings in 
Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, North 
Dakota, Ohio, and Washington D.C.\12\ An inaugural listening 
session was also held in Texas. The hearing in North Dakota was 
held on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and focused on 
issues specific to Native American voters. The Subcommittee on 
Elections found an array of tactics in place used to suppress 
the votes of targeted communities and barriers that impede the 
free exercise of the right to vote. In the course of its 
investigation, the Subcommittee of Elections collected over 
3,000 pages of wide-ranging testimony and evidence. 
Specifically, the Subcommittee of Elections found persistent 
discrimination in voting law changes such as purging voter 
registration rolls, cut backs to early voting, polling place 
closures and movement, voter ID requirements, implementation of 
exact match and signature match requirements, lack of language 
access and assistance, and discriminatory gerrymandering of 
legislative districts at the state, local, and federal level. 
The Subcommittee on Elections also found Native Americans are 
disproportionately targeted and impacted by voter ID laws and 
polling place closures.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \12\See Hearings Before the Subcomm. on Elections of the H. Comm. 
on House Admin. 116th Cong. (2019).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In addition to the Subcommittee on Elections, the Judiciary 
Committee and its Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil 
Rights, and Civil Liberties (``Subcommittee on the 
Constitution'') held eight hearings on barriers to voting, 
continuing evidence of voting discrimination, and Congress's 
legal authority to enact remedial legislation.\13\ The 
Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of the House 
Oversight and Reform Committee conducted a hearing on 
``Protecting the Right to Vote: Best and Worst Practices,'' 
which examined election practices that maximize access to the 
ballot for eligible voters and disenfranchise eligible voters 
or increase obstacles to voting.\14\ At this hearing, directors 
from civil rights organizations testified about voter 
suppression tactics across the country. Collectively, the 
hearings before the three committees produced strong 
contemporaneous evidence of ongoing discriminatory laws and 
practices that result in suppression of the right to vote 
against racial and language minorities.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \13\See Hearings Before the H. Comm. on the Judiciary and Subcomm. 
on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties of the H. Comm. 
on the Judiciary, 116th Cong. (2019).
    \14\See Protecting the Right to Vote: Best and Worst Practices: 
Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of the 
H. Comm. on Oversight and Reform, 116th Cong. (May 1, 2019).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Judiciary Committee also received additional written 
testimony and reports from interested governmental and non-
governmental organizations (NGOs) and private citizens,\15\ 
which the Judiciary Committee adopts in their entirety as part 
of the legislative record in support of H.R. 4. In all, the 
three committees have assembled thousands of pages of 
testimony, documentary evidence, and appendices from over 126 
groups and individuals, including State and local elected 
officials, tribal officials, scholars, attorneys, and other 
representatives from the voting and civil rights community and 
Members of Congress. In addition to the oral and written 
testimony, the Judiciary Committee requested, received, and 
incorporated into its hearing record a series of comprehensive 
reports that have been compiled by NGOs that have expertise in 
voting rights litigation and extensively documented: (1) the 
extent to which discrimination against minorities in voting has 
and continues to occur; (2) the impact of the suspension of 
Section 5 preclearance on the voting rights of minority voters 
and (3) the continued need for the expiring provisions of the 
VRA.\16\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \15\See An Assessment of Minority Voting Rights Access in the 
United States, U.S. Comm'n on Civil Rights (2018).
    \16\See The Case for Restoring and Updating the Voting Rights Act, 
Am. Civil Liberties Union (2019); Democracy Defended: Analysis of 
Barriers to Voting in the 2018 Midterm Elections, The NAACP Legal Def. 
and Educ. Fund (2019); Democracy Diverted: Polling Place Closures and 
the Right to Vote, The Leadership Conference Educ. Fund (2019); Field 
Hearing Report Identifying and Removing Barriers to Political 
Participation by Native Voters, The Native Am. Rights Fund (2019); 
Practice Based Preclearance: Protecting Against Tactics Persistently 
Used to Silence Minority Communities' Votes, Asian Americans Advancing 
Justice, Mexican Am. Legal Def. and Educ. Fund, NALEO Educ. Fund 
(2019); The State of Voting Rights Litigation, Brennan Center for 
Justice (2019); Voting Discrimination Against Racial and Ethnic 
Minorities 1994-2019, Lawyers' Comm. for Civil Rights Under Law (2019).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In summary, the Judiciary Committee advances H.R. 4 in the 
face of overwhelming record evidence--developed over the course 
of the hearings discussed above--that states and their 
political subdivisions have continued to engage in voting 
discrimination in the years since the 2013 Shelby County 
decision.

B. Committee Statement on Importance of the Preclearance Process

    When Congress passed the VRA in 1965, it sought to deliver 
on what had long been an empty promise to African Americans and 
other people of color: the right to participate in our 
democracy as equal citizens. The Act not only prohibited states 
from denying the right to vote on the basis of race, but also 
required certain states and local jurisdictions that had 
practiced the most severe forms of discrimination to get 
approval from the DOJ, or from a court, before making any 
changes to their voting laws.
    Congress enacted this ``preclearance'' requirement to 
address what the Supreme Court called an ``unremitting and 
ingenious defiance of the Constitution'' by states determined 
to suppress the vote. Even after the passage of earlier federal 
civil rights laws, states would continue to enact laws designed 
to disenfranchise African American voters, like literacy tests; 
and when those laws were struck down by the courts after years 
of litigation, the states would simply switch to some other 
method of voter suppression, like poll taxes.
    This relentless game of whack-a-mole meant that African 
American voters could be shut out of the polling place even if 
they were successful in every lawsuit they brought because by 
the time they succeeded in striking down a discriminatory law, 
a new one would already be in place to keep them from the 
ballot box. So, as the Supreme Court explained when it first 
upheld the Voting Rights Act in South Carolina v. 
Katzenbach,\17\ Congress put in place the preclearance 
requirement ``to shift the advantage of time and inertia from 
the perpetrators of the evil to its victims.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \17\383 U.S. 301, 328 (1966).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    For decades afterward, enforcement of this law improved the 
ability of African Americans and other people of color to cast 
votes, run for office and equally participate in the political 
process. However, because many state and local governments 
persisted in attempting to suppress the vote in communities of 
color--or to dilute their votes through racial gerrymandering--
Congress reauthorized the VRA in 1970, 1975, 1982, and 2006. 
Each time, the legislation passed by overwhelming bipartisan 
margins. And each time, Congress kept essentially the same 
coverage formula for determining which jurisdictions would be 
subject to preclearance based on the evidence compiled in its 
legislative record.
    In 2013, however, the Supreme Court in Shelby County held 
that the coverage formula in the VRA was unconstitutional 
because it was not based on current conditions. The Judiciary 
Committee heard from dozens of witnesses and assembled 
thousands of pages of evidence of ongoing discrimination as it 
had done in past reauthorizations, but in the Court's view, 
because certain statistics had improved in the jurisdictions 
subject to preclearance, Congress could no longer justify 
imposing preclearance on those jurisdictions. This 
determination was not without controversy on the Court. Justice 
Ruth Bader Ginsburg observed in a strongly worded dissent that: 
``Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is 
continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like 
throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not 
getting wet.''
    The Judiciary Committee record indicates that after the 
Shelby County decision, a deluge of voter suppression laws were 
passed across the nation, including in many states and local 
jurisdictions that had been subject to preclearance before the 
ruling. For instance, within 24 hours, Texas and North Carolina 
moved to reinstitute draconian voter identification (ID) laws, 
both of which were later held in federal courts to be 
intentionally racially discriminatory. The three separate 
committees identified above have heard evidence about these 
states and other ongoing voter suppression laws.
    The Court also emphasized the equal sovereignty of the 
states and on states' authorities to administer elections. In 
each reauthorization process, this Committee and Congress as a 
whole, has focused on acting within its authority under the 
Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection under the 
law and the Fifteenth Amendment's prohibition on states from 
denying the right to vote on the basis of race. Crucially, both 
Amendments give Congress the power to enforce these rights ``by 
appropriate legislation.'' In its decision in Katzenbach, the 
Supreme Court held that this authority under the Fifteenth 
Amendment means Congress ``may use any rational means'' to make 
laws protecting the right to vote and the Court has deferred to 
that authority following each reauthorization. In Shelby 
County, however, the Court appeared to depart from this 
``rationality test'' and applied a different, possibly 
heightened form of scrutiny. After Shelby County, there has 
been substantial confusion about the standard, which has 
allowed some states free reign to enact stringent voter ID 
laws, to purge their voter registration rolls, and to engage in 
a host of other measures designed to roll back the achievements 
of the Voting Rights Act.
    Nonetheless, Congress has the power--and indeed the 
obligation--to address this tide of voting discrimination. The 
Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments expressly empower Congress 
to enact laws protecting the right to vote and guaranteeing the 
equal protection of all citizens. And although the Supreme 
Court's decision in Shelby County suspended the DOJ 
preclearance procedures, the Court made clear that it was not 
striking down preclearance altogether. Rather, it invalidated 
the part of the law that determines which jurisdictions are 
subject to preclearance. It explained it was doing this because 
Congress had not substantially updated that formula for several 
decades. In fact, the Court expressly said that Congress could 
``draft another formula based on current conditions.''
    Based upon the record compiled by the committees and the 
NGO's, the Judiciary Committee finds that current conditions 
justify the continuation of the Section 5 preclearance process 
and that the coverage formula in H.R. 4 is crafted within the 
constitutional bounds of congressional authority as defined by 
relevant Supreme Court precedent. The right to vote lies at the 
very core of our democracy and is foundational to the rule of 
law. Though substantial progress has been made, the overall 
record, particularly in the wake of suspension of Section 5 
preclearance, continues to justify the need for the VRA's 
temporary provisions.

C. Need for the Original VRA and Subsequent Reauthorizations

            1. Historical Background
              a. Constitutional Authority for Federal Regulation of 
                    State and Local Voting Procedures to Combat Racial 
                    Discrimination
    While it remains true that, in general, states are left to 
regulate their own elections, the post-Civil War amendments to 
the U.S. Constitution fundamentally re-ordered the relationship 
between the federal and state governments by giving Congress 
the express authority to enforce the mandates of those 
amendments against the states. In doing so, these amendments 
gave Congress both the authority and the obligation to combat 
race discrimination by the States and their political 
subdivisions.\18\ For instance, the VRA was enacted under 
Congress's authority to enforce the Fifteenth Amendment to the 
U.S. Constitution, which provides that the right of citizens to 
vote shall not be denied or abridged on account of race, color, 
or previous servitude.\19\ Likewise, the Fourteenth Amendment 
guarantees, among other things, the equal protection of the 
laws\20\ and gives Congress the authority to enforce this 
guarantee through legislation.\21\ It should also be noted 
that, with respect to elections for Congress, Congress has 
broad authority under the Constitution's Elections Clause to 
supplant state and local voting procedures and practices when 
it so chooses.\22\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \18\See H.R. 1, the ``For the People Act of 2019'': Hearing Before 
the H. Comm. on the Judiciary, 116th Cong. (Jan. 29, 2019) (oral 
testimony of Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Dir.-Counsel, NAACP Legal 
Defense and Educ. Fund).
    \19\U.S. Const., amend. XV, Sec. 1 (``The right of citizens of the 
United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United 
States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition 
of servitude.'') and Sec. 2 (``The Congress shall have power to enforce 
this article by appropriate legislation'').
    \20\U.S. Const., amend. XIV, Sec. 1 (``All persons born or 
naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction 
thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein 
they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge 
the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor 
shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, 
without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its 
jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.'').
    \21\Id., Sec. 5 (``The Congress shall have power to enforce, by 
appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article'').
    \22\U.S. Const., art. I, Sec. 4 (``The Times, Places and Manner of 
holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed 
in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any 
time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Place of 
choosingg Senators.'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
              b. Brief History of Discriminatory Barriers to Voting
    Although the Nation has made substantial progress since the 
enactment of the VRA in ensuring full and equal participation 
by racial, ethnic, and language minority citizens in the 
electoral process, there remain significant and ever-evolving 
barriers to such full participation. Additionally, with the 
erosion of longstanding federal protections against voting 
discrimination, the possibility that this progress may be 
erased is ever present. Indeed, there is, sadly, precedent in 
the Nation's history for such retrogression, which pervades the 
history of civil rights in the United States. A more fulsome 
discussion of Congress's constitutional authority appears later 
in this Committee report.
                  i. The Persistence of Racial Discrimination Against 
                    African Americans in Voting Reflects the Deep-
                    Rooted Racial Ideology That Undergirded Slavery in 
                    the United States
    The end of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery 
ushered in a brief but important period in American history 
where federal lawmakers took significant steps to protect the 
civil rights of African Americans and other racial minorities. 
During the Reconstruction Era the Fourteenth Amendment and the 
Fifteenth Amendment were ratified and the Civil Rights Act of 
1866, among other federal civil rights protections, was 
enacted.\23\ Though not comprehensive, these legal protections 
for, among other things, voting rights--enforced through the 
use of federal troops--permitted a nascent multiracial 
democracy to form for a brief period in parts of the former 
Confederacy.\24\ Yet the centuries-old institution of slavery 
established a racial caste system in the United States so 
pervasive that it survived the oppressive economic and social 
institution that it was intended to preserve. The political 
will to maintain the civil rights advancements made in the 
Civil War's immediate aftermath soon subsided. The withdrawal 
of the last federal troops as part of the Compromise of 1877--
which secured the presidency for Rutherford B. Hayes in the 
contested 1876 presidential election--marked the end of the 
Reconstruction period.\25\ Without the protection of federal 
troops and the political will to enforce the few federal civil 
rights laws enacted in the immediate aftermath of the Civil 
War, the backlash against gains made in African American voting 
was swift. Many former Confederate States moved quickly to 
enact laws designed to suppress African American voting rights 
while countenancing acts of racial violence and intimidation.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \23\Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow at 29, The New Press 
(2012).
    \24\Id.
    \25\Bernard Grofman, Lisa Handley, et al., Minority Representation 
and the Quest for Voting Equality at 6 (1992).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    By the 1890s--often considered by civil rights historians 
as the nadir of African American civil rights--many southern 
States had amended their constitutions to effectively 
disenfranchise African American voters and established what 
would become known as Jim Crow laws.\26\ An oppressive regime 
of legal segregation designed to reassert a racial caste system 
akin to that imposed by slavery, Jim Crow laws were designed to 
preserve white political supremacy through the denial of civil 
rights and the right to vote--the bedrock on which all other 
civil rights were founded. Using a combination of ``violence, 
voting fraud, white officials' discriminatory use of election 
structures (such as gerrymandering and the use of at-large 
elections to prevent black office holding), statutory suffrage 
restrictions, and, in the waning years of the century, revision 
of the `reconstructed' state constitutions,'' reactionary 
whites effectively erased the gains in political representation 
made by African Americans during Reconstruction.\27\ Indeed, 
the enactment of the many barriers to voting that Congress 
initially intended the VRA to address can be traced back to 
this period.\28\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \26\Bernard Grofman and Chandler Davidson, ed., Controversies in 
Minority Voting: The Voting Rights Act in Perspective at 10 (1992).
    \27\Id. at 10-11.
    \28\H.R. Rept. 439, 89th Cong. at 11 (1965).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Undergirding Jim Crow laws were the racial attitudes 
spawned during slavery, which continued to perpetuate 
themselves throughout American society, particularly in the 
States of the former Confederacy where Jim Crow was born. 
Racial discrimination in voting, however, was legal in many 
places throughout the United States, not just the South. For 
example, on the eve of the Civil War, every northern State save 
New York and all but one in New England disenfranchised African 
American voters, and even those States that did permit African 
Americans to vote placed qualifications that limited the number 
of eligible African American voters.\29\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \29\Id. at 8.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Furthermore, the concept of white racial superiority 
stemming from slavery, and later its successor Jim Crow, 
informed societal attitudes towards other racial and ethnic 
groups. As the United States' population grew ever more 
diverse, other ethnic and racial minorities were also subjected 
to voting and other forms of discrimination as well as acts of 
racial violence - which were often tolerated if not supported 
by local or State authorities. In short, the odious racial 
caste system which evolved to justify slavery, and the 
historical conflicts between the federal government and Native 
American tribes, have attached social stigmas to Americans 
belonging to other racial and ethnic minority groups as well. 
Additionally, many Native Americans have suffered a long 
history of discrimination, both before and after Congress 
conferred automatic U.S. citizenship to all Native Americans in 
1924.\30\ Moreover, this discrimination has occurred within the 
context of historical conflicts between many Native American 
tribes and a federal government that often acted in a manner 
indifferent to its treaty obligations or antagonistically 
towards tribal sovereignty.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \30\Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, Pub. L. 68-175, 43 Stat. 253 
(1924).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    It took nearly a century of civil agitation following the 
adoption of the Civil War Amendments, culminating in the civil 
rights movements of the 1950s, 60s and early 70s to end de jure 
racial discrimination in the United States. During this 
``Second Reconstruction,'' civil rights activists advanced 
legal theories before a receptive Supreme Court to fully 
enforce constitutional guarantees of legal equality and used 
public protests to shape public opinion to push federal 
lawmakers to once again take action to protect the civil rights 
of racial and ethnic minorities through the enactment of the 
Civil Rights Act of 1964, and, most importantly, the Voting 
Rights Act of 1965.
    U.S. history since the Civil War has been punctuated by 
moments of real promise for the realization of full racial 
equality-spurred in part by the initiatives of an engaged 
federal government responding to those fighting on behalf of 
civil rights for all Americans. Unfortunately, this progress 
has been fitful as these periods have been followed by periods 
of political backlash, and subsequent backsliding on civil 
rights. The Reconstruction Era was the first such period that 
provided a brief glimpse of what the Nation could achieve. Like 
mercury, however, the racial attitudes born from America's 
early dependence on slavery continued to seep into any crack in 
the Nation's resolve, taking whatever shape necessary to 
perpetuate the racial caste system that had touched almost 
every aspect of life in communities across the country for 
centuries. It took a ``Second Reconstruction'' spearheaded by 
the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, and the many ordinary 
Americans who took up the cause, for the United States to start 
living up to its founding ideals.
                  ii. Brief History of the VRA
    The VRA was a remarkable response to the persistence of 
racial discrimination in voting and was intended to prevent the 
kind of backsliding on voting rights enforcement that occurred 
after the Civil War. That it sought to protect the right to 
vote was not novel. Instead, what made it indispensable was 
that it was structured to prevent those invested in preserving 
white supremacy from adapting State laws to evade federal 
attempts to enforce the constitutional guarantee of the right 
to vote regardless of race.
    The 1965 Judiciary Committee report accompanying the VRA 
noted both the historic struggle for civil rights and 
Congress's failure to protect minority voting rights following 
the end of the Reconstruction period and the enactment of Jim 
Crow laws. The Judiciary Committee noted in its report that 
``[t]he bill, as amended, [is] designed primarily to enforce 
the 15th amendment to the Constitution of the United States and 
is also designed to enforce the 14th amendment and article I, 
section 4''\31\ and that ``[t]he historic struggle for the 
realization of this constitutional guarantee indicates clearly 
that our national achievements in this area have fallen far 
short of our aspirations.''\32\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \31\H.R. Rept. 439, 89th Cong. at 6 (1965).
    \32\Id. at 8.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Although in the years prior to the passage of the VRA, 
Congress passed several civil rights bills in 1957, 1960, and 
1964,\33\ to facilitate voting rights enforcement litigation by 
the DOJ and private plaintiffs, the Judiciary Committee 
observed that ``enforcement has encountered serious obstacles 
in various regions of the country.''\34\ The Judiciary 
Committee found that States quickly adapted their laws in 
response to voting rights litigation in order to maintain 
racially discriminatory voting, noting ``[t]he history of 15th 
amendment litigation in the Supreme Court reveals both the 
variety of means used to bar [African American] voting and the 
durability of such discriminatory policies.''\35\ Litigation, 
even where successful, was not enough to vindicate the voting 
rights of racial minorities in these regions. As Justice 
Ginsburg noted in her dissent in Shelby County: ``Early 
attempts to cope with this vile infection resembled battling 
the Hydra. Whenever one form of voting discrimination was 
identified and prohibited, others sprang up in its place.''\36\ 
To slay the beast, Congress had to forge a weapon capable of 
defeating each of the Hydra's heads for good.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \33\Id. at 9.
    \34\Id.
    \35\Id. at 8.
    \36\570 U.S. at 560.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    To that end, Congress added a provision to the VRA that 
subjected States and political subdivisions with a history of 
racial discrimination in voting to a preclearance requirement, 
which ``required prior approval or preclearance of a proposed 
change to any voting law, and applied only to those states or 
political subdivisions'' that fell under its coverage 
formula.\37\ As originally enacted, the coverage formula 
covered any state or political subdivision that maintained a 
``test or device'' as a prerequisite to voting or registering 
to vote on November 1, 1964 ``and either less than 50% of 
citizens of legal voting age were registered to vote or less 
than 50% of such citizens voted in the presidential election in 
the year in which the state or political subdivision used the 
test or device.''\38\ The preclearance provision was initially 
set to expire after five years.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \37\History of Enforcement of the Voting Rights Act of 1965: 
Hearing before the Subcomm. on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and 
Civil Justice, H. Comm. on the Judiciary, 116th Cong. (Mar. 12, 2019) 
(written statement of L. Paige Whitaker, Legislative Attorney, 
Congressional Research Service at 2).
    \38\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Judiciary Committee report noted that each of the six 
southern states that fell within the coverage formula and were 
subject to the VRA's preclearance requirement ``has had a 
general public policy of racial segregation evidenced by 
statutes in force and effect in the areas of travel, 
recreation, education, and hospital facilities.''\39\ Certain 
state and local governments openly espoused racially 
discriminatory attitudes, which demonstrated that the 
disparities in voter registration and voter participation were 
the result of intentional racial discrimination in voting.\40\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \39\H.R. Rept. 439, 89th Cong. at 14 (1965).
    \40\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In light of the foregoing factors, the Judiciary Committee 
considered the preclearance provision to be the most critical, 
observing:

          The judicial process affords those who are determined 
        to resist plentiful opportunity to resist. Indeed, even 
        after apparent defeat resisters seek new ways and means 
        of discriminating. Barring one contrivance too often 
        has caused no change in result, only in methods.\41\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \41\Id. at 10.

For example, the Judiciary Committee report noted that even 
where litigation was successful and ``where some registration 
has been achieved, [African American] voters have sometimes 
been discriminatorily purged from the roll.''\42\ Even during 
the enactment of the initial 1965 Act, Congress recognized that 
state actions designed to exclude minorities from effectively 
participating in the electoral process could take on new forms. 
Indeed, the entire preclearance requirement is premised on 
Congress having found that litigation alone was not effective, 
as States and localities simply found alternative means to 
effectuate racially discrimination.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \42\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    While the Civil Rights Movement was successful in pushing 
courts and the Congress to end States' overt racially 
discriminatory policies, racial discrimination in voting--as in 
other facets of American society--continued to persist, and 
evolved by taking on new, more covert forms. In the decades 
following the enactment of the VRA, both the courts and 
Congress--during subsequent reauthorizations of the VRA--took 
notice as States and political subdivisions began to adopt new, 
less overt methods to limit full minority participation in the 
electoral process. Based on substantial evidence presented to 
the Judiciary Committee at the time of each reauthorization, 
Congress extended the temporary provisions of the VRA in 1970, 
1975, 1982, 1992, and 2006, and amended the Act to take account 
of new evolving threats to voting rights.\43\ For example, in 
1975, the Congress expanded the VRA to cover new geographic 
areas after finding ``a systematic pattern of voting 
discrimination and exclusion against minority group citizens 
who are from environments in which the dominant language is 
other than English.''\44\ During the 1982 reauthorization of 
the VRA, the Judiciary Committee report observed:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \43\See H.R. Rept. 109-478, 109th Cong. (2006).
    \44\H.R. Rept. 94-196, 94th Cong. at 16 (1975).

          Congress and the courts have long recognized that 
        protection of the franchise extends beyond mere 
        prohibition of official actions designed to keep voters 
        away from the polls, it also includes prohibitions of 
        state actions which so manipulate the elections process 
        as to render voters meaningless.\45\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \45\H.R. Rept. 97-227, 97th Cong. at 17 (1981).

The Judiciary Committee found that, despite progress made with 
regard to increasing minority registration and the number of 
minority elected officials, ``manipulation of registration 
procedures and the electoral process'' by state actions 
continued to ``effectively exclude minority participation from 
all stages of the political process.''\46\ These state actions 
included ``at-large elections, high fees and bonding 
requirements, shifts from elective to appointive office, 
majority vote run-off requirements, numbered posts, staggered 
terms, full slate voting requirements, residency requirements, 
annexations/retrocessions, incorporations, and malapportionment 
and racial gerrymandering.''\47\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \46\Id. at 14.
    \47\Id. at 18.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In enacting the VRA, Congress sought to arrest the forces 
animating State and local government attempts to evade federal 
enforcement of minority voting rights. The effects of past 
racial discrimination continue to resound down through the 
ages, and much progress remains to be made today towards true 
racial and social justice. Moreover, though it has been decades 
since Jim Crow ended, the racial attitudes that animated it 
remain within living memory and continue to cast a long shadow 
across the Nation's legal, economic, and social institutions. 
Yet a generation of Americans have come of age without having 
to live under the burdens imposed by de jure racial 
discrimination. That is in large part because the VRA continues 
to be one of the primary bulwarks against voter 
discrimination--no matter what method or form such 
discrimination takes--and ensuring that the right to vote is 
guaranteed fully for all Americans.
                  iii. First, Second, and Third Generation Barriers to 
                    Voting
    Understandably, the original provisions of the VRA focused 
primarily on vote denial practices given that de jure racial 
discrimination in almost every aspect of public life had been 
the policy of many States for decades, effectively abrogating 
the voting rights of African Americans and other racial 
minorities in defiance of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth 
Amendments. Moreover, State and local officials in many States 
were also actively engaged in resisting federal efforts to 
effectuate minority voting rights. The 1965 Committee report, 
however, also makes clear that the VRA was always envisioned to 
be a flexible response to conditions ``on the ground'' that 
affected the ability of minority voters to exercise effectively 
the franchise.
    The VRA as initially passed addressed so-called ``first 
generation'' barriers to voting that were enacted following the 
end of Reconstruction.\48\ These barriers included methods such 
as poll taxes, literacy tests, and other devices designed to 
facilitate overt disenfranchisement of racial minorities by 
preventing them from registering and voting.\49\ By the 1970s, 
States and subdivisions determined to discriminate against 
minority voters began to adopt other, more subtle barriers to 
meaningful participation in the democratic process in response 
to increased minority voter registration due to the enforcement 
of the VRA.\50\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \48\Discriminatory Barriers to Voting: Hearing Before the Subcomm. 
on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, H. Comm. on the 
Judiciary, 116th Cong., (Sept. 5, 2019) (written statement of Steven 
Mulroy, Professor of Law, University of Memphis Cecil B. Humphreys 
School of Law at 2).
    \49\Id.
    \50\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    These so-called ``second generation barriers'' are designed 
not to outright exclude minority voters from participation, but 
to dilute or underrepresent the strength of their votes.\51\ 
These include practices such as the racial gerrymandering of 
electoral districts; adoption of at-large election districts 
rather than smaller, single-member individual electoral 
districts; and the annexation of another political subdivision 
in order to dilute the ability of minority voters to impact the 
outcome of an election. In keeping with the overall purpose of 
the VRA, Congress amended the statute to ensure these practices 
were forbidden.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \51\Id. at 2-3.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Finally, while second generation barriers remain a threat 
to voting rights, in recent years, States and political 
subdivisions have begun adopting ``third generation'' barriers 
to make voting more onerous for minority voters.\52\ These 
practices include the adoption of procedures making it more 
difficult for language minorities to register; placing 
burdensome restrictions on third-party voter registration 
activities; moving or closing down polling places to increase 
the difficulty for minorities to vote; and countenancing 
confusing election administration procedures to remain in place 
for practices such as provisional balloting and voter ID 
requirements.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \52\Id. at 3.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

D. Framework of Congress's Constitutional Authority to Combat Voting 
        Discrimination

            1. Katzenbach and Related Cases
    Soon after the VRA was first enacted, the Supreme Court 
resoundingly upheld its constitutionality in Katzenbach. In 
that case, South Carolina contended that Congress had exceed 
its constitutional authorities and ``encroach[ed] on an area 
reserved to the States by the Constitution.''\53\ It also 
argued that the coverage formula ``violate[d] the principle of 
the equality of States.''\54\ The Court posed the following as 
the fundamental question in the case: ``Has Congress exercised 
its powers under the Fifteenth Amendment in an appropriate 
manner with relation to the States?''\55\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \53\383 U.S. at 323.
    \54\Id.
    \55\Id. at 324.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Court held that it had. First, it construed the 
Fifteenth Amendment's text and purpose to mean that ``[a]s 
against the reserved powers of the States, Congress may use any 
rational means to effectuate the constitutional prohibition of 
racial discrimination in voting.''\56\ In applying this 
``rationality test'' to measures passed pursuant to Congress's 
Fifteenth Amendment authority, the Court affirmed that the 
Amendment's express grant of authority to Congress means that 
Congress is empowered to enact proactive legislation beyond 
simply ``forbid[ding] violations of the Fifteenth Amendment in 
general terms.''\57\ The Court made clear that any legislation 
to enforce the Fifteenth Amendment is constitutional when ``as 
in all cases concerning the express powers of Congress with 
relation to the reserved powers of the States . . . `Let the 
end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the 
Constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are 
plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but 
consist with the letter and spirit of the Constitution . . . 
.'''\58\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \56\Id. (emphasis added).
    \57\Id. at 327.
    \58\Id. at 326 (quoting McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. 316, 421 
(1819)).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Court acknowledged that Congress had acted in an 
``inventive'' and ``uncommon'' manner in imposing a 
preclearance requirement on covered jurisdictions in Sections 
4(b) and 5.\59\ Section 4(b) provided the ``coverage formula'' 
for determining which jurisdictions are subject to the Section 
5 preclearance requirement and requires these covered 
jurisdictions to ``preclear'' proposed changes in their voting 
procedures or practices and submit the proposed changes for 
approval by DOJ or by a federal court.\60\ Section 5 requires 
jurisdictions covered by Section 4(b) to submit any changes in 
their voting procedures or practices for approval by DOJ or by 
a federal court. Pursuant to Section 5, DOJ or the court can 
block any changes that have discriminatory purposes or 
effects.\61\ The coverage formula was triggered if a state or 
political subdivision, as of various points in the 1960s or 
early 1970s, (1) employed prohibited ``tests or devices'' used 
to limit voting; and (2) had fewer than 50% voter registration 
or turnout among its voting-age population.\62\ Section 3(c), 
known as the ``bail-in'' provision, allows courts to retain 
jurisdiction to supervise further voting changes in 
jurisdictions where the court has found violations of the 
Fourteenth or Fifteenth Amendments. If a jurisdiction is 
``bailed in,'' it must submit any changes to its voting 
procedures for approval either to the court or to DOJ.\63\ That 
provision was not affected by the Court's holding in Shelby 
County.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \59\Id. at 324, 327; see 52 U.S.C. Sec. Sec. 10303-10304 (1982).
    \60\See 52 U.S.C. Sec. 10304(a).
    \61\Id.
    \62\Id. Sec. 10303(b).
    \63\Id. Sec. 10302(c).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In Katzenbach, the Court held that Section 5's preclearance 
remedy was ``clearly a legitimate response to the problem'' of 
voting discrimination.\64\ Given the difficulty of litigating 
voting discrimination suits on a case-by-case basis, the Court 
held that Congress appropriately decided ``to shift the 
advantage of time and inertia from the perpetrators of the evil 
to its victims.''\65\ The Court elaborated:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \64\383 U.S. at 327-28, 335.
    \65\Id. at 328.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
          Congress knew that some of the States covered by 
        [Section] 4(b) of the Act had resorted to the 
        extraordinary stratagem of contriving new rules of 
        various kinds for the sole purpose of perpetuating 
        voting discrimination in the face of adverse federal 
        court decrees. Congress had reason to suppose that 
        these States might try similar maneuvers in the future 
        in order to evade the remedies for voting 
        discrimination contained in the Act itself. Under the 
        compulsion of these unique circumstances, Congress 
        responded in a permissibly decisive manner.\66\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \66\Id. at 335 (internal citations omitted).

    As to the coverage formula, the Court held that South 
Carolina's arguments regarding the ``equality of [the] States'' 
applied only to the terms on which states were admitted into 
the Union.\67\ It reasoned that Congress justifiably confined 
the preclearance remedy to the areas in which voting 
discrimination occurred most frequently. Additionally, the 
Court viewed South Carolina's criticism that the formula was 
inadequately tailored as ``largely beside the point.''\68\ 
Congress had ``reliable evidence of actual voting 
discrimination in a great majority'' of covered jurisdictions; 
the formula it devised was ``relevant to the problem of voting 
discrimination''; and ``[n]o more was required.''\69\ 
Katzenbach thus applied a standard akin to rational-basis 
review, asking whether the means Congress chose to address the 
problems it faced were rationally related to its ends.\70\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \67\Id. at 328-29.
    \68\Id. at 329.
    \69\Id.
    \70\See, e.g., Congressional Authority to Protect Voting Rights 
After Shelby County v. Holder: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on the 
Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties of the H. Comm. on the 
Judiciary, 116th Cong. (Sept. 24, 2019) [hereinafter ``Congressional 
Authority Hearing''] (statement of Justin Levitt, Professor of Law, 
Associate Dean for Research and Gerald T. McLaughlin Fellow, Loyola Law 
School at 27) [hereinafter ``Levitt Statement'']; see also Richard L. 
Hasen, Shelby County and the Illusion of Minimalism, 22 Wm. & Mary Bill 
of Rts. J. 713, 716 (2014) (Katzenbach ``gave considerable deference to 
congressional determinations about the means necessary to `enforce' the 
Fifteenth Amendment prohibition by states in discriminating in voting 
on the basis of race and applied a rationality standard of review'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    During the same term, the Supreme Court also upheld 
Congress's broad authority under the Fourteenth Amendment to 
prevent voting discrimination against non-English speakers. In 
Katzenbach v. Morgan, the Court upheld a ban on the use of 
English literacy tests for voters who were educated in American 
schools in other languages.\71\ Prior to the enactment of that 
ban, citizens who had moved to New York City from Puerto Rico 
were frequently denied the right to vote.\72\ New York City 
argued that the ban could be constitutional only if the Court 
determined that the State's English literacy test itself 
violated the Fourteenth Amendment.\73\ The Supreme Court 
rejected that view, holding that--like the enforcement 
provision of the Fifteenth Amendment--Section 5 of the 
Fourteenth Amendment grants Congress broad ``discretion in 
determining whether and what legislation is needed to secure 
[the Amendment's] guarantees.''\74\ The Court concluded that 
``[i]t was well within congressional authority to say that'' 
these non-English speakers' right to vote ``warranted federal 
intrusion upon any state interests served by the English 
literacy requirement,'' and that ``[i]t was for Congress . . . 
to assess and weigh the various conflicting considerations'' 
underlying that determination.\75\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \71\384 U.S. 641 (1966). More specifically, the challenged 
provision prohibited the use of English literacy tests as to voters who 
had successfully completed sixth grade ``in a public school, or in a 
private school accredited by, any State or territory, the District of 
Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in which the language of 
instruction was other than English.'' Id. at 643 & n.1.
    \72\Id. at 644.
    \73\Id. at 648.
    \74\Id. at 651; see also id. at 650-51 (explaining that these 
enforcement powers are ``the same broad powers expressed in the 
Necessary and Proper Clause'' of the Constitution, and noting that a 
similar analysis applied in Katzenbach).
    \75\Id. at 653.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The initial VRA was set to expire after five years, and in 
1970 Congress renewed it for another five years with some 
modifications to the coverage formula.\76\ In 1975, Congress 
reauthorized the VRA for another seven years and extended its 
coverage to jurisdictions meeting Section 4's coverage criteria 
as of November 1972.\77\ Furthermore, Section 203 of the law 
added extensive protections for members of language minorities 
(i.e., non-English speakers), including by supplementing 
Section 2 to prohibit voting discrimination against language 
minorities, and requiring provision of language assistance to 
voters. Section 203 also expanded the preclearance coverage 
formula to include jurisdictions where more than 5 percent of 
voting-age citizens did not speak English and where English-
only voting materials had previously been provided.\78\ In 
1982, Congress reauthorized the VRA for another 25 years 
without changing the coverage formula.\79\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \76\Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1970, Pub. L. No. 91-285 
(1970).
    \77\Voting Rights Act of 1965, amendments, Pub. L. No. 94-73 
(1975).
    \78\Id. Sec. 203.
    \79\Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1982, Pub. L. No. 97-205 
(1982).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Supreme Court's standard for reviewing the preclearance 
requirement and coverage provisions did not change during this 
period. In City of Rome v. United States, decided in 1980, the 
city of Rome, Georgia contended that Congress exceeded its 
authority by allowing preclearance to be granted only if a 
change in voting procedures did not have the purpose or effect 
of discriminating on the basis of race.\80\ Rome contended that 
the Fifteenth Amendment prohibited only purposeful 
discrimination, and that Congress's enforcement authority was 
therefore limited to preventing such conduct. The Court 
rejected this argument, holding that ``even if Sec. 1 of the 
[Fifteenth] Amendment prohibits only purposeful discrimination, 
the prior decisions of this Court foreclose any argument that 
Congress may not, pursuant to Sec. 2, outlaw voting practices 
that are discriminatory in effect.''\81\ The Court held that 
``Congress could rationally have concluded that, because 
electoral changes by jurisdictions with a demonstrable history 
of intentional racial discrimination in voting create the risk 
of purposeful discrimination, it was proper to prohibit changes 
that have a discriminatory impact.''\82\ The Court found ``no 
reason . . . to disturb Congress' considered judgment that 
banning electoral changes that have a discriminatory impact is 
an effective method of preventing States from undoing or 
defeating the rights recently won by'' African Americans.\83\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \80\446 U.S. 156, 173 (1980).
    \81\Id. (footnote omitted).
    \82\Id. at 177 (emphasis added).
    \83\Id. at 178 (internal quotations and brackets omitted).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
            2. City of Boerne v. Flores, the Fourteenth Amendment, and 
                    the Congruence and Proportionality Test
    In a line of cases beginning with City of Boerne v. Flores, 
the Supreme Court has articulated limits on Congress's 
authority under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to remedy 
discrimination where those remedial measures are applied 
against the States.\84\ Although this line of cases does not 
involve voting rights, it may have influenced the Court's 
analysis in Shelby County, as discussed further below.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \84\See 521 U.S. 507 (1997).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    City of Boerne involved a challenge to the Religious 
Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (``RFRA''), enacted by Congress 
to protect the free exercise of religion.\85\ Among other 
things, RFRA prohibited State and local governments (as well as 
the federal government) from ``substantially burden[ing]'' a 
person's exercise of religion absent a compelling interest.\86\ 
In enacting the statute, Congress acted pursuant to its power 
under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment, to enforce the 
right to the free exercise of religion (considered applicable 
against the States through the Fourteenth Amendment's Due 
Process Clause).\87\ The Court held that Congress had exceeded 
that authority because the protections and remedies afforded by 
RFRA went beyond the requirements of the Free Exercise Clause 
of the First Amendment, as the Court had then construed it.\88\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \85\See id.; see also Pub. L. No. 103-141 (1993).
    \86\Boerne, 521 U.S. at 515-16.
    \87\Id. at 517.
    \88\Id. at 513-14; see Employment Div., Dep't of Human Res. of 
Oregon v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Of most relevance here, the Court held that ``[t]here must 
be a congruence and proportionality between the injury to be 
prevented or remedied and the means adopted to that end.''\89\ 
It interpreted Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment as 
``remedial,''\90\ meaning any law enacted through that 
authority had to be tethered to remedying violations of the 
underlying constitutional right.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \89\Boerne, 521 U.S. at 520 (emphasis added).
    \90\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In City of Boerne, the Court, in fact, pointed to the VRA 
as an example of what Congress should do when compiling a 
legislative record to support legislation to enforce a 
constitutional right. In that case, the Court found that, in 
contrast to the extensive record of voting discrimination 
assembled by Congress when it passed the VRA, ``RFRA's 
legislative record lacks examples of modern instances of . . . 
laws passed because of religious bigotry.''\91\ The Court 
concluded that ``RFRA is so out of proportion to a supposed 
remedial or preventive object that it cannot be understood as 
responsive to, or designed to prevent, unconstitutional 
behavior.''\92\ Rather, the Court viewed RFRA as designed to 
expand the scope of rights protected under the Free Exercise 
Clause--which, acting through its enforcement powers under the 
Fourteenth Amendment, it could not do.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \91\Id. at 530.
    \92\Id. at 532.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Court employed this ``congruence and proportionality'' 
test in limiting other statutes as well. For instance, it held 
that Congress exceeded its authority when it passed legislation 
subjecting states to lawsuits for money damages based on 
certain violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment 
Act,\93\ the employment discrimination provision of the 
Americans with Disabilities Act (``ADA''),\94\ and the self-
care provision of the Family and Medical Leave Act 
(``FMLA'').\95\ The Court, however, upheld damages remedies 
applied against states for violations of the family-care 
provision of the FMLA\96\ and the public accommodations 
provision of the ADA.\97\ In those cases, the Court relied in 
substantial part on legislative records documenting historical 
and ongoing discriminatory practices (regarding gender-based 
parental leave policies in the FMLA case and accommodations for 
the disabled in the ADA case).\98\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \93\Kimel v. Fla. Bd. of Regents, 528 U.S. 62, 82-83 (2000).
    \94\Bd. of Trustees of the Univ. of Ala. v. Garrett, 531 U.S. 356, 
374 (2001).
    \95\Coleman v. Ct. of App. of Md., 566 U.S. 30, 39 (2012).
    \96\Nevada Dep't of Human Res. v. Hibbs, 538 U.S. 721, 740 (2003).
    \97\Tennessee v. Lane, 541 U.S. 509, 533-534 (2004).
    \98\See Hibbs, 538 U.S. at 730-37; Lane, 541 U.S. at 523-29.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In a 2009 case known as Northwest Austin, the Court avoided 
directly ruling on a challenge to the constitutionality of the 
VRA's coverage formula and preclearance requirement but warned 
that ``[t]he statute's coverage formula is based on data that 
is now more than 35 years old, and there is considerable 
evidence that it fails to account for current political 
conditions.''\99\ The Court also acknowledged, but did not 
settle a dispute between the parties about whether City of 
Boerne's standard applied in cases challenging the VRA.\100\ 
Instead, the Court observed that ``the [VRA] imposes current 
burdens and must be justified by current needs.''\101\ The 
Court also noted that ``a departure from the fundamental 
principle of equal sovereignty [among states] requires a 
showing that a statute's disparate geographic coverage is 
sufficiently related to the problem that it targets.''\102\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \99\Nw. Austin Mun. Utility Dist. No. One v. Holder, 557 U.S. 193, 
203 (2009) (Northwest Austin).
    \100\Id. at 204.
    \101\Id. at 203.
    \102\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
            3. Shelby County v. Holder
    About seven years after the reauthorization of the VRA in 
2006, the Court invalidated Section 4(b)'s coverage formula in 
Shelby County decision. The Court began its analysis by 
reiterating the framework it outlined in Northwest Austin 
requiring Congress to (1) justify the burdens of preclearance 
based on ``current needs'' and (2) demonstrate that the 
coverage formula was ``sufficiently related to the problem that 
it targets.''\103\ The Court also noted that the scope of 
Section 5 was broadened in 2006 to prohibit any voting law that 
has the purpose (even if not the effect) of diminishing the 
ability of citizens on account of race, color, or language-
minority status to elect their preferred candidates of choice, 
and that nothing had been done to ease the restrictions in 
Section 5 or narrow the scope of coverage to address concerns 
related to the federalism costs imposed by those 
provisions.\104\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \103\570 U.S. at 542; see also id. at 554 (``Congress--if it is to 
divide the States--must identify those jurisdictions to be singled out 
on a basis that makes sense in light of current conditions.'').
    \104\Id. at 549-50.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Court emphasized the states' traditional autonomy in 
administering elections and the importance of federalism 
principles writ large.\105\ The Court noted that the federal 
government does not ``have a general right to review and veto 
state enactments before they go into effect'' and that ``States 
retain broad autonomy in structuring their governments and 
pursuing legislative objectives.''\106\ The Court did not 
expressly state whether it would employ Katzenbach's 
``rationality'' test or Boerne's ``congruence and 
proportionality'' test. Rather, it stated in a footnote that 
``[b]oth the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were at issue 
in Northwest Austin, and accordingly Northwest Austin guides 
our review under both Amendments in this case.''\107\ The Court 
explained that in Northwest Austin, ``we concluded that `a 
departure from the fundamental principle of equal sovereignty 
requires a showing that a statute's disparate geographic 
coverage is sufficiently related to the problem that it 
targets.' These basic principles guide our review of the 
question before us.''\108\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \105\See id. at 542-44.
    \106\Id. at 542-43.
    \107\Id. at 542 n.1 (internal citation omitted).
    \108\Id. at 542 (internal citation omitted).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Court next observed that voting discrimination had 
``changed dramatically'' since the VRA's enactment in 
1965.\109\ The most flagrantly discriminatory mechanisms for 
suppressing the vote, such as through literacy tests, had been 
outlawed for decades. The Court held that the coverage formula 
was no longer rational in ``practice and theory'':
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \109\Id. at 546-47.

          At the time, the coverage formula--the means of 
        linking the exercise of the unprecedented authority 
        with the problem that warranted it--made sense. We 
        found that ``Congress chose to limit its attention to 
        the geographic areas where immediate action seemed 
        necessary.'' . . . The areas where Congress found 
        ``evidence of actual voting discrimination'' shared two 
        characteristics: ``the use of tests and devices for 
        voter registration, and a voting rate in the 1964 
        presidential election at least 12 points below the 
        national average.''
          We explained that ``[t]ests and devices are relevant 
        to voting discrimination because of their long history 
        as a tool for perpetrating the evil; a low voting rate 
        is pertinent for the obvious reason that widespread 
        disenfranchisement must inevitably affect the number of 
        actual voters.'' . . . We therefore concluded that 
        ``the coverage formula [was] rational in both practice 
        and theory.'' . . . It accurately reflected those 
        jurisdictions uniquely characterized by voting 
        discrimination ``on a pervasive scale,'' linking 
        coverage to the devices used to effectuate 
        discrimination and to the resulting disenfranchisement. 
        . . . The formula ensured that the ``stringent remedies 
        [were] aimed at areas where voting discrimination ha[d] 
        been most flagrant.''
          Nearly 50 years later, things have changed 
        dramatically . . . In the covered jurisdictions, 
        ``[v]oter turnout and registration rates now approach 
        parity. Blatantly discriminatory evasions of federal 
        decrees are rare. And minority candidates hold office 
        at unprecedented levels.'' . . . The tests and devices 
        that blocked access to the ballot have been forbidden 
        nationwide for over 40 years.\110\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \110\Id. at 546-47.

    The Court further noted that when Congress reauthorized the 
VRA in 2006, voter registration among African American and 
white voters was nearly equal (and in some instances higher for 
African American voters) in the six states originally subject 
to preclearance, and that DOJ objected to only a very small 
percentage of proposed voting changes in the preceding 
decade.\111\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \111\Id. at 548.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In light of what the Court viewed as significant 
improvements in the state of voting rights, what it found most 
objectionable was Congress's failure to change the Section 4(b) 
coverage formula. As the Court put it: ``Coverage today is 
based on decades-old data and eradicated practices. The formula 
captures States by reference to literacy tests and low voter 
registration and turnout in the 1960s and early 1970s.''\112\ 
The Court rejected the argument that the coverage formula was 
permissible because--regardless of its terms--it resulted in 
coverage of jurisdictions that Congress intended to cover and 
that had engaged in ongoing voting discrimination practices. 
The Court stated:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \112\Id. at 551.

        The Government's reverse-engineering argument does not 
        even attempt to demonstrate the continued relevance of 
        the formula to the problem it targets. And in the 
        context of a decision as significant as this one--
        subjecting a disfavored subset of States to 
        `extraordinary legislation otherwise unfamiliar to our 
        federal system' . . . --that failure to establish even 
        relevance is fatal.\113\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \113\Id. at 552 (quoting Northwest Austin, 557 U.S. at 211).

    The Court emphasized that to serve the purposes of the 
Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, ``Congress--if it is to 
divide the States--must identify those jurisdictions to be 
singled out on a basis that makes sense in light of current 
conditions.''\114\ The Court did not conduct a detailed review 
of the voluminous evidence assembled by Congress demonstrating 
ongoing, second-generation barriers to voting, because the core 
problem, in the Court's view, was that ``Congress did not use 
the record it compiled to shape a coverage formula grounded in 
current conditions.''\115\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \114\Id. at 553.
    \115\Id. at 553-54.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Significantly, the Court invited Congress to ``draft 
another formula based on current conditions.''\116\ The Court 
went on to note that, ``[o]ur country has changed, and while 
any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must 
ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem 
speaks to current conditions.''\117\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \116\Id. at 557.
    \117\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                          NEED FOR LEGISLATION

A. The Judiciary Committee's Factual Findings Demonstrate Substantial 
        and Continuing Voting Discrimination Since the Shelby County 
        Decision

    Testimony received at the subcommittees' hearings revealed 
that after the Shelby County decision in 2013, discriminatory 
voting changes were implemented particularly--though not 
exclusively--in several jurisdictions formerly subject to the 
VRA's preclearance requirement. This extensive evidence shows 
that efforts to discriminate persist and evolve, such that a 
revised coverage formula is needed to protect minority voters.
    Since 2013, at least 23 States have enacted newly 
restrictive statewide voter laws.\118\ These statewide voter 
laws include strict voter identification laws; voter 
registration barriers such as requiring documentary proof of 
citizenship, allowing challenges of voters on the rolls, and 
unfairly purging voters from rolls; cuts to early voting; and 
moving or eliminating polling places.\119\ The impact of the 
Shelby County decision was summarized by Kristen Clarke, 
President and Executive Director of the Lawyers' Committee for 
Civil Rights Under Law, who testified before the Subcommittee 
that:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \118\See History and Enforcement of the Civil Rights Act of 1965: 
Hearing Before the Subcomm. on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and 
Civil Liberties of the H. Comm. on the Judiciary, 116th Cong. 4 (2019) 
[hereinafter ``VRA History Hearing''] (statement of Catherine Lhamon, 
Chair, U.S. Comm'n on Civil Rights [hereinafter ``Lhamon VRA History 
Statement'']); Congressional Authority to Protect Voting Rights After 
Shelby County v. Holder: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on the 
Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties of the H. Comm. on the 
Judiciary, 116th Cong., Unofficial Tr. 32 (2019) [hereinafter 
``Congressional Authority Hearing''] (statement of Joseph D. Rich) 
[hereinafter ``Rich Statement'']; Congressional Authority Hearing, 
Unofficial Tr. 24 (statement of Debo P. Adegbile, Partner, Wilmer Hale) 
[hereinafter ``Adegbile Statement'']; see also Voting Rights and 
Election Administration in America: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on 
Elections of the H. Comm. on House Admin. 116th Cong. (2019) 
[hereinafter ``America Oversight Hearing''] [Lhamon Statement at 36].
    \119\See Lhamon VRA History Statement at 4-6; see also Sonia Gill, 
The Case for Restoring and Updating the Voting Rights Act, Am. Civil 
Liberties Union at 32-44 (2019).

          [W]e have vetted complaints from tens of thousands of 
        voters since Shelby, many revealing systemic voting 
        discrimination. In short, this is how Shelby has 
        impacted our democracy.
          First, we have seen the resurgence of discriminatory 
        voting practices, some motivated by intentional 
        discrimination, and this discrimination has been most 
        intense in the very jurisdictions that were once 
        covered by Section 5. They range from the consolidation 
        of polling sites to make it less convenient for 
        minority voters to vote to the curtailing of early 
        voting hours, the purging of minority voters from the 
        rolls under the pretext of list maintenance, strict 
        photo ID requirements, abuse of signature match 
        verification requirements to reject absentee ballots, 
        the threat of criminal prosecution, and more.
          Second, we have seen increased levels of 
        recalcitrance and hostility among elected officials who 
        institute and reinstitute discriminatory voting changes 
        with impunity. Well-known examples come out of North 
        Carolina, where the legislature adopted an omnibus bill 
        that the Fourth Circuit found was crafted with surgical 
        precision. . . .
          Third, the loss of public notice regarding changes in 
        voting practices that could have a discriminatory 
        effect is significant. Most suppressive actions occur 
        in small towns sprinkled across the country where 
        constant oversight is difficult, if not impossible.
          Fourth, the public no longer has the ability to 
        participate in the process of reviewing practices 
        before they take effect. And between 2000 and 2010, DOJ 
        received between 4,500 and 5,500 submissions, capturing 
        between 14,000 and 20,000 voting changes per year. 
        Without Section 5, communities are in the dark, and 
        unable to share critical information that can help to 
        illuminate the discrimination that sometimes underlies 
        voting changes.
          Fifth. The preclearance process had an identifiable 
        deterrent effect that is now lost.
          Sixth. The status quo is not sustainable. Civil 
        rights organizations are stepping up to fill the void 
        created by the Shelby decision at insurmountable 
        expense.
          And finally, this will be the first redistricting 
        cycle in decades if Congress fails to restore the 
        Voting Rights Act. A little over 12 years ago, both 
        Chambers of Congress reauthorized the Act with 
        tremendous bipartisan support. Many members of the 
        House present for that vote are still here today. 
        Bipartisan support for the Act has been consistent 
        across the decades and should remain so today. The 
        Supreme Court has put the ball in Congress' court, and 
        this body must undertake action now to help our country 
        safeguard the right to vote for all.\120\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \120\See Continuing Challenges to the Voting Rights Act Since 
Shelby Cty. v. Holder: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on the Constitution, 
Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties of the H. Comm. on the Judiciary, 
116th Cong., Unofficial Tr. 5-6 (2019) [hereinafter ``Shelby 
Anniversary Hearing''] (statement of Kristen Clarke, President and 
Exec. Dir., Lawyers' Comm. for Civil Rights Under Law) [hereinafter 
``Clarke Shelby Statement'']; see also America Oversight Hearing, 
Unofficial Tr. 13-15 (2019) (statement of Kristen Clarke, President and 
Exec. Dir., Lawyers' Comm. for Civil Rights Under Law) [hereinafter 
``Clarke Oversight Statement''].
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
            1. United States Commission on Civil Rights 2018 Report
    Catherine Lhamon, Chair of the United States Commission on 
Civil Rights, testified before the Constitution Subcommittee 
about the findings of the Commission's 2018 report on voting 
rights.\121\ This 2018 report documented the disturbing trend 
of ongoing voting discrimination in States such as Texas, 
Georgia, and North Carolina that had previously been subject to 
Section 5 preclearance and found that Texas has the highest 
number of recent VRA violations in the nation.\122\ Subsequent 
testimony submitted to the Subcommittee bolstered the 
Commission's findings, particularly with respect to those three 
States as well as Alabama.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \121\See U.S. Comm. on Civil Rights, An Assessment of Minority 
Voting Rights Access in the United States (2018).
    \122\See Lhamon Statement at 4; see also America Oversight Hearing 
(statement of Catherine E. Lhamon, Chair, U.S. Comm'n on Civil Rights 
at 4) [hereinafter ``Lhamon Oversight Statement'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Texas

    Within hours of the Shelby County decision, the Texas 
Attorney General declared that the state would implement its 
restrictive voter ID law notwithstanding the fact that a 
federal court had ruled that the same Texas law could not 
receive preclearance due to its retrogressive effects on 
minority voters.\123\ The Subcommittee heard testimony about 
the changing demographics of Texas and that the fear of a 
majority-minority electorate had resulted in the implementation 
of discriminatory laws, policies, and practices primarily 
directed at African American and Latino voters.\124\ Witnesses 
described recent examples of voter suppression tactics 
including: the reinstatement of at-large voting, criminal and 
civil penalties for ``voter fraud'' such as errors on voter 
registration forms resulting in a decrease of voter 
registration drives, requiring government-issued identification 
to vote, widespread purging of voter rolls, a 2019 policy 
targeting naturalized citizens to be purged from voter 
registration rolls, Texas's failure to comply with the National 
Voter Registration Act (NVRA), discrimination against and 
hostility toward minority voters by election judges and polling 
officials, failure of officials to process voter registrations 
of minority voters, delayed opening of polling sites in areas 
with large proportions of minority voters, late changes to 
polling sites and assigning locations of polling sites that are 
inconvenient to minority voters, long voting lines, 
nonfunctioning electronic voting equipment, the elimination of 
straight-ticket voting, intimidation by state troopers at 
polling locations, and harassment of African American voters by 
vigilante groups.\125\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \123\Federal courts have subsequently found that the Texas voter ID 
law is intentionally discriminatory against minority voters. See 
Evidence of Current and Ongoing Voting Discrimination: Hearing Before 
the Subcomm. on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of 
the H. Comm. on the Judiciary, 116th Cong. (2019) [hereinafter 
``Evidence Hearing''] (statement of Myrna Perez, Dir., Voting Rights 
and Elections Program, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law) 
[hereinafter ``Perez Statement'']; Oversight Hearing on Voting Rights 
and Election Admin. in Ga., Subcomm. on Elections, H. Comm. on House 
Admin., 116th Cong. 1 (2019) [hereinafter ``Georgia Oversight 
Hearing''] (statement of Gilda Daniels, Dir. of Litigation, Advancement 
Project at 3) [hereinafter ``Daniels Statement''].
    \124\See Enforcement of the Voting Rights Act in the State of Tex.: 
Hearing Before the Subcomm. on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and 
Civil Liberties of the H. Comm. on the Judiciary, 116th Cong., 
Unofficial Tr. 18-22, 25-29 (2019) [hereinafter ``Texas VRA Hearing''] 
(statements of Ernest I. Herrera, Staff Attorney, Mexican Am. Legal 
Def. and Educ. Fund [hereinafter ``Herrera Statement''] and Gary 
Bledsoe, President, Texas NAACP and NAACP Nat'l Board Member 
[hereinafter ``Bledsoe Statement'']).
    \125\See Perez Statement at 3, 5-6, 8; Evidence Hearing (statement 
of Derrick Johnson, President and CEO, NAACP at 5-11) [hereinafter 
``Derrick Johnson Statement'']); Bledsoe Statement at 1-5; Listening 
Session on Voting Rights and Elections in Brownsville Tex., Subcomm. on 
Elections, H. Comm. on House Admin., 116th Cong., Unofficial Tr. 76, 
78, 82-83, 93-95 (2019) (testimony of Mimi Marziani, President of the 
Tex. Civil Rights Project); Listening Session on Voting Rights and 
Elections in Brownsville Tex., Subcomm. on Elections, H. Comm. on House 
Admin., 116th Cong., Unofficial Tr. 22-24 (2019) (Rolando Rios, 
Attorney).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Georgia

    The Subcommittees heard testimony that after the end of 
preclearance in 2013, Georgia voters were faced with a myriad 
of discriminatory voting barriers: attacks on third party 
registration, restrictive voter identification laws, the 
closure of more than 200 precincts, database challenges that 
spoiled legitimate registrations, the purging of more than one 
million voters, holding registrations of 53,000 people based on 
the flawed process of ``exact match,'' election staff who did 
not have the resources or training to meet the needs of voters, 
long voting lines, naturalized citizens who had to sue for 
their voting rights, the lack of ballots in multiple languages 
for Limited English Proficient voters, inoperable voting 
machines and the inadequate distribution of machines to 
communities, poor oversight of county application of state laws 
leading to disparate treatment between counties, lines for 
districts have been misapplied or miscommunicated forcing do-
over elections or disqualifying otherwise eligible candidates, 
rejection of a disturbing number of absentee ballots, and the 
inconsistent application of the provisional ballot system 
resulting in different standards for the administration of 
elections in each of Georgia's 159 counties.\126\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \126\See Subcommittee on Elections Report at 69-70; Derrick Johnson 
Statement at 11-12; Georgia Oversight Hearing (statement of Stacey 
Abrams, CEO and Founder, Fair Fight Action at 2-4) [hereinafter 
``Abrams Oversight Statement'']; see also Clarke Oversight Statement at 
4-8, 10, Appx. at 6-11.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

North Carolina

    Shortly after the Shelby County decision, North Carolina--a 
State where the DOJ had objected to more than 150 voting 
practices under preclearance--passed a ``monster'' voter 
suppression law (HB 589), the nation's most wide-sweeping voter 
suppression law, which resulted in racial discrimination in 
accessing the polls, including through closures of poll sites 
and long voting lines.\127\ Among other things, the legislation 
banned paid voter registration drives, restricted voting by 
eliminating same-day voter registration, reduced early voting 
by a week, eliminated the option of early voting sites at 
different hours, and reduced satellite polling sites for 
elderly voters and voters with disabilities.\128\ The 
Subcommittee on Elections Report noted that ``leading up to the 
2016 election, at least 17 counties made significant cuts to 
early voting days and hours, and early voter turnout among 
Black voters declined almost nine percent statewide compared to 
2012.''\129\ The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit 
described this law as ``the most restrictive voting law North 
Carolina has seen since the era of Jim Crow'' with ``provisions 
[that] target African Americans with almost surgical 
precision.''\130\ Other voter suppression efforts including 
gerrymandering, purging of voter rolls, the 2018 voter ID 
constitutional amendment, reductions to early voting, issues 
with curbside voting, excessively long lines, voting machine 
issues, and poll worker misconduct.\131\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \127\See H.R. 1: The ``For the People Act of 2019'': Hearing Before 
the H. Comm. on the Judiciary, 116th Cong., Unofficial Tr. 53, 86, 113-
14 (2019) [hereinafter ``H.R. 1 hearing''] (testimony of Vanita Gupta) 
[hereinafter ``Gupta H.R. 1 Testimony''].
    \128\See Legislative Proposals to Strengthen the Voting Rights Act: 
Hearing Before the Subcomm. on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and 
Civil Liberties of the H. Comm. on the Judiciary, 116th Cong. (2019) 
[hereinafter ``VRA Legislation Hearing''] (statement of John C. Yang, 
President and Exec. Dir., Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC at 12) 
[hereinafter ``Yang Statement'']; see also Subcommittee on Elections 
Report at 51-52.
    \129\Subcommittee on Elections Report at 51-52 (citations omitted).
    \130\See North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP v. McCrory, 
831 F.3d 204, 227 (4th Cir. 2016); H.R. 1 Hearing, Unofficial Tr. 21 
(Gupta H.R. 1 Testimony); VRA Evidence Hearing (statement of Dale Ho, 
Dir., Voting Rights Project, Am. Civil Liberties Union at 7) 
[hereinafter ``Ho Statement'']; Levitt Statement at 10; Oversight 
Hearing on Voting Rights and Election Admin. in N.C., Subcomm. on 
Elections, H. Comm. on House Admin., 116th Cong. (2019) [hereinafter 
``NC Oversight Hearing''] (statement of Irving L. Joyner, Professor of 
Law, NCCU School of Law and Legal Counsel and Chair, NC NAACP Legal 
Redress Comm. at 2) [hereinafter ``Joyner Statement'']; Daniels 
Statement at 4.
    \131\Perez Statement at 3-7; Joyner Statement at 19-20; NC 
Oversight Hearing (statements of Tomas Lopez, Exec. Dir., Democracy 
N.C. at 2-5 [hereinafter ``Lopez Statement''] and Caitlin Swain, Co-
Dir., Forward Justice at 3-5, 7-8, 10-11 [hereinafter ``Swain 
Statement'']).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alabama

    Immediately after the Shelby County decision, Alabama 
proceeded to implement new racially discriminatory restrictions 
on the ability of its minority citizens to register and vote 
including: a photo ID law, the closure of DMV offices in the 
``Black Belt'' (areas with the highest proportion of African 
Americans) where people need to acquire the necessary photo ID 
to vote, restrictive absentee ballot rules, requiring proof of 
citizenship to register to vote, closure of polling sites, 
untrained poll workers, and felon re-enfranchisement 
issues.\132\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \132\See Hearing on Voting Rights and Election Admin. in Ala., 
Subcomm. on Elections, H. Comm. on House Admin., 116th Cong. (2019) 
[hereinafter ``Alabama Oversight Hearing''] (statement of Jenny 
Carroll, Professor of Law, Univ. of Ala. Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. School 
of Law at 1-15) [hereinafter ``Carroll Statement'']; Alabama Oversight 
Hearing (statements of James Blacksher, Attorney at 7) [hereinafter 
``Blacksher Statement'']; Isabel Rubio, Exec. Dir., Hispanic Interest 
Coalition of Ala. at 2-3; Scott Douglas, Exec. Dir., Greater Birmingham 
Ministries at 2-3; and Nancy Abudu, Deputy Legal Dir., Voting Rights, 
S. Poverty Law Ctr. at 2); America Oversight Hearing, Unofficial Tr. 4 
(testimony of Denise Lieberman, Senior Attorney and Program Dir., Power 
and Democracy, Advancement Project) [hereinafter ``Lieberman 
Testimony''].
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In addition to the persistent voting discrimination in 
specific states, the Subcommittee heard testimony about the 
following discriminatory voting practices that have resulted in 
the disenfranchisement of minority voters.
            2. Restrictions on Voter Registration, Early Voting, and 
                    Voting by Mail
    The Constitution Subcommittee received testimony regarding 
recent efforts to impede voter registration. For example, 
Georgia targeted third-party registration, which impeded 
registration by minority voters.\133\ In addition, Stacey 
Abrams, a former gubernatorial candidate and founder and Chair 
of Fair Fight Action, testified that post-Shelby County, 
Georgia's then-Secretary of State ``refused to take action to 
process registration forms in a timely manner'' and that there 
were ``unpublished internal rules, such as the 90-day blackout 
period during which no voter registration forms were processed, 
causing delays that denied registrants the right to 
vote.''\134\ After the Shelby County decision, Georgia also 
implemented the racially discriminatory ``exact match'' policy, 
which was discredited and rejected by the U.S. Department of 
Justice in 2009 because it presented ``real,'' ``substantial'' 
and ``retrogressive'' burdens on voters of color.\135\ The 
exact match policy requires that the data in a voter 
registration application must be an exact match of the voter's 
name, and if not, the application is rejected without notice to 
the applicant.\136\ In 2016, Georgia entered into a federal 
settlement, because 34,000 voters were denied the right to vote 
in that election cycle due to the exact match policy, but the 
next year Georgia implemented the same discriminatory policy, 
which led to approximately 53,000 suspended voter registrations 
in 2018, 70 percent of whom were African American voters who 
comprised roughly 30 percent of Georgia's eligible voters.\137\ 
For these reasons, a federal court ultimately put a stop to the 
law's implementation only four days before the election, 
because of the ``differential treatment inflicted on a group of 
individuals who are predominantly minorities.''\138\ Voters 
also experienced problems during the November 2018 midterm 
elections such as not receiving absentee ballots, waiting in 
long lines (e.g., lines at the Pittman Park voting station were 
reportedly 300 people deep with a wait time of 3.5 hours), 
broken or inoperable voting machines led to voters being turned 
away or given provisional ballots.\139\ Ms. Abrams testified 
before the Subcommittee that if preclearance was in place, it 
would have prevented the state from enacting these 
discriminatory laws:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \133\See Shelby Anniversary Hearing (statement of Stacey Y. Abrams, 
Founder & Chair, Fair Fight Action at 23) [hereinafter ``Abrams 
Statement''].
    \134\See id. at 23-24.
    \135\See Perez Statement at 4; Abrams Statement at 2; 
Discriminatory Barriers to Voting: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on the 
Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of the H. Comm. on the 
Judiciary, 116th Cong. (2019) [hereinafter ``Discriminatory Barriers 
Hearing''] (statement of Helen Butler, Exec. Dir., Ga. Coalition for 
the People's Agenda at 5-6) [hereinafter ``Butler Statement'']; see 
also Letter from Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General, U.S. 
Dep't of Justice, Civil Rights Division, to Thurbert E. Baker, Ga. 
Attorney General (May 29, 2009), https://www.justice.gov/crt/voting-
determination-letter-58.
    \136\See Abrams Statement at 50.
    \137\See id. at 24.
    \138\Georgia Coal. for People's Agenda, Inc. v. Kemp, 347 F. Supp. 
3d 1251, 1267 (N.D. Ga. 2018) ; Shanon Van Sant, Judge Rules Against 
Georgia Election Law, Calling It A 'Severe Burden' For Voters, Nat'l 
Public Radio (Nov. 3, 2018), https://www.npr.org/2018/11/03/663937578/
judge-rules-against-georgia-election-law-calling-it-a-severe-burden-
for-voters.
    \139\See Daniels Statement at 5; America Oversight Hearing, 
Unofficial Tr. 87 (testimony of Virginia Kase, Chief Exec. Officer, 
League of Women Voters) [hereinafter ``Kase Testimony''].

          The State of Georgia has found itself in multiple 
        lawsuits where upon adjudication, the State has been 
        told that their actions were racially discriminatory. 
        That means that people have been denied the right to 
        vote. They will never be able to unring that bell. And 
        I believe that preclearance--in fact, we know 
        empirically that preclearance would have permitted more 
        voters to cast their ballots because the policies that 
        denied them the right to vote would not have been 
        enacted.\140\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \140\See Abrams Statement at 39.

    The Subcommittee on Elections also heard testimony 
regarding the signature match policy in Florida, which allows 
ballots to be marked ``invalid'' because of a missing signature 
or signature mismatch.\141\ One report noted that during the 
2014 and 2016 elections, younger and ethnic minority voters 
were more likely to have their vote-by-mail ballots rejected 
and less likely to have these ballots cured when flagged for a 
signature mismatch.\142\ One witness testified that during the 
2018 election, approximately 83,000 votes in Florida were 
rejected for signature mismatch.\143\ Similarly, California was 
sued by a civil rights organization for invalidating tens of 
thousands of vote-by-mail ballots, which were rejected because 
election officials (who had no expertise in handwriting) 
determined that the signature on the envelope did not match the 
one on file.\144\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \141\See Subcommittee on Elections Report at 70-71.
    \142\See id. at 70-71.
    \143\See id. at 70.
    \144\See id. at 71.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In 2019, Tennessee enacted a law that restricts third-party 
groups or individuals from registering voters in large-scale 
voter registration efforts in disenfranchised, economically 
disadvantaged majority-minority communities.\145\ Violations of 
this law could result in criminal penalties and civil fines up 
to, but not necessarily limited to, $10,000.\146\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \145\See Discriminatory Barriers Hearing (statements of Tequila 
Johnson, Co-Founder and Vice President, The Equity Alliance at 6 and 
statement of Steven J. Mulroy, Bredesen Professor of Law, Cecil C. 
Humphreys School of Law, Univ. of Memphis at 9 [hereinafter ``Mulroy 
Statement'']); see also America Oversight Hearing, Unofficial Tr. 24-25 
(testimony of Kristen Clarke, President and Exec. Dir., Lawyers' Comm. 
for Civil Rights Under Law) [hereinafter ``Clarke Oversight 
Testimony''].
    \146\See Mulroy Statement at 9. A federal court has temporarily 
blocked this law, stating that it was ``troublingly vague.'' See Talal 
Ansari, Judge Temporarily Blocks Tennessee Voter-Registration Drive 
Law, Wall St. Journal (Sept. 12, 2019), https://www.wsj.com/articles/
judge-temporarily-blocks-tennessee-voter-registration-drive-law-
11568322920.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Subcommittees heard testimony about voters who were 
denied early voting opportunities or who faced other barriers 
to the ballot box. Chairperson Fudge's Subcommittee on 
Elections noted that since 2010, several States have reduced 
the hours and/or days of early, and in-person voting available 
to voters, and that the USCCR Minority Voting Report found that 
cuts to early voting can cause long lines with a disparate 
impact on voters of color.\147\ For example, Texas voters have 
been denied early voting opportunities, including African 
American college students who may not have transportation to 
polling sites. Before the November 2018 midterm elections, 
Waller County, Texas failed to provide adequate early voting 
opportunities for students at the Prairie View A&M University, 
a historically black university or ``HBCU.''\148\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \147\See Subcommittee on Elections Report at 47.
    \148\See Texas VRA Hearing (statement of Jayla Allen, Chair, Rock 
the Vote at 5-6); see also Subcommittee on Elections Report at 51; 
America Oversight Hearing (statement of Deuel Ross, Senior Counsel, 
NAACP Legal Def. Fund at 6) [hereinafter ``Ross Statement''].
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In addition, the Subcommittee on Elections heard testimony 
that voters in Florida, particularly voters of color, took 
advantage of early voting in high numbers. In 2011, Florida 
made cuts to early voting and eliminated the final Sunday of 
early voting, which led to long lines at polling locations and 
massive wait times, ``wait times that were two to three times 
longer in Black and Latino precincts than in White 
precincts.''\149\ Also, early voting locations on college 
campuses were not equitably assigned, and students at Florida 
A&M University, a public HBCU, were not able to vote on 
campus.\150\ According to one study that examined on-campus 
early voting in Florida during the 2018 general election, 
``almost 30 percent of campus early vote ballots were cast by 
Hispanic voters, compared to just under 13 percent of early 
ballots cast at non-campus locations, and more than 22 percent 
of campus early vote ballots were cast by Black voters, 
compared to 18 percent of early ballots cast at non-campus 
locations.''\151\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \149\See Subcommittee on Elections Report at 50 (citing testimony 
of Judith Browne Dianis).
    \150\See Protecting the Right to Vote: Best and Worst Practices: 
Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of the 
H. Comm. on Oversight and Reform, 116th Cong. (2019) [hereinafter 
``Best Practices Hearing''] (statement of Leigh M. Chapman, Dir., 
Voting Rights Program, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human 
Rights at 6) [hereinafter ``Chapman Statement'']; America Oversight 
Hearing, Unofficial Tr. 70 (testimony of Barbara Arnwine, National Co-
Chair, Nat'l Comm. for Voter Justice) [hereinafter ``Arnwine 
Testimony''].
    \151\See Subcommittee on Elections Report at 50-51.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As noted in the Subcommittee on Elections Report, one of 
the most egregious examples of cutbacks to early voting 
occurred in Ohio.\152\ After almost a decade of expanding Ohio 
voters' access to the ballot, the State changed course and 
drastically limited access to early voting opportunities.\153\ 
For example, in 2014, Ohio eliminated its ``Golden Week,'' the 
period when citizens could register to vote and cast an 
absentee ballot on the same day.\154\ In addition, Ohio only 
allowed one early, in-person voting site regardless of 
population size (e.g., Cuyahoga County has a population of more 
than 1.2. million people and is given the same single early 
voting site as the smallest counties in the States such as 
Vinton County, which has a population of just over 13,100 
people).\155\ Also, last minute changes to the early voting 
policies created confusion among voters, thereby limiting 
voters' access to the polls.\156\ One witness described voter 
suppression in Ohio as a ``more subtle erosion of our voting 
rights but the results are devastating nonetheless.''\157\ In 
2016, Arizona enacted a law limiting collection of mail-in 
ballots and making it a felony to knowingly collect and submit 
another voter's completed ballot under certain 
circumstances.\158\ In 2014, a Georgia state senator criticized 
the historic ``Souls to the Polls'' early voting initiative as 
a partisan stunt because the poll site was located at South 
DeKalb Mall, an area ``dominated by African American shoppers'' 
and ``near several large African American mega churches,'' and 
noted, ``I would prefer more educated voters than a greater 
increase in the number of voters.''\159\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \152\See id. at 47-50.
    \153\Id. at 47-48.
    \154\Id. at 48.
    \155\Id. at 49.
    \156\Id.
    \157\See Voting Rights and Election Admin. in Ohio: Hearing Before 
the Subcomm. on Elections of the H. Comm. on House Admin., 116th Cong. 
(2019) [hereinafter ``Ohio Oversight Hearing''] (statement of Daniel 
Ortiz, Outreach Dir., Policy Matters Ohio at 1).
    \158\Perez Statement at 5.
    \159\See Subcommittee on Elections Report at 51; Georgia Oversight 
Hearing (statement of Sean Young, Legal Dir., ACLU of Ga. at 3, 70) 
[hereinafter ``Young Statement''].
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Furthermore, the record evidence establishes that in 2018, 
over 2.6 million people submitted vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots in 
Florida and that the statewide average of rejected VBM ballots 
in the 2018 election was 1.2 percent, which is a rate even 
higher than in 2012 or 2016 presidential elections.\160\ In 
Broward County, one of three counties that make up the Miami 
metropolitan area, the rejection rate was 2.8 percent, and the 
rejection rate was even higher among voters between the ages of 
18-21.\161\ A witness stated that, ``[a]s the rest of [the] 
Country applauded the young organizers from Parkland for 
getting engaged in the civic process to make change in their 
communities, it is estimated that 15 percent of mail-in ballots 
submitted by Parkland residents between the ages of 18 and 21 
were never counted in the 2018 election.\162\ Also, based on a 
report produced by ACLU Florida and the University of Florida 
analyzing the 2014 and 2016 elections, "younger and ethnic 
minority voters were much more likely to have their VBM ballots 
rejected, and less likely to have their VBM ballots cured when 
they were flagged for a signature mismatch.\163\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \160\See Voting Rights and Election Admin. in Fla.: Hearing Before 
the Subcomm. on Elections of the H. Comm. on House Admin., 116th Cong. 
(2019) [hereinafter ``Florida Oversight Hearing''] (statement of Andrew 
Gillum, Chair, Forward Florida at 1). Parkland residents between the 
ages of 18 and 21 were never counted in the 2018 election.'' Also, 
based on a report produced by ACLU Florida and the University of 
Florida analyzing the 2014 and 2016 elections, ``younger and ethnic 
minority voters were much more likely to have their VBM ballots 
rejected, and less likely to have their VBM ballots cured when they 
were flagged for a signature mismatch.''
    \161\See id. at 1-2.
    \162\Id. at 2.
    \163\See id.; see also Daniel A. Smith, Vote-By-Mail Ballots Cast 
in Florida, ACLU Florida (2018), https://www.aclufl.org/sites/default/
files/aclufl_-_vote_by_mail_-_report.pdf; America Oversight Hearing 
(statement of Elena Nunez, Dir. of State Operations and Ballot Measure 
Strategies, Common Cause at 4) [hereinafter ``Nunez Statement''].
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
            3. Voter ID Laws
    Voter ID laws require voters to provide some form of 
official identification before they are permitted to exercise 
their right to vote. Such requirements disproportionately and 
negatively impact certain classes of voters, including racial 
minorities, the young, the elderly, and economically 
disadvantaged groups, and effectively represent another barrier 
to voting.\164\ The record reveals that post-Shelby County, 
several States have tried to implement restrictive voter ID 
laws, particularly in States with a history of voter 
discrimination. For example, in Texas, a formerly covered 
jurisdiction under Section 5, the Texas Attorney General, 
within hours of the Shelby County decision, announced his 
intention to revive a voter identification law (SB14) that was 
initially blocked under preclearance.\165\ The law was crafted 
to allow voters to use only certain forms of government 
identification, including handgun licenses and other forms of 
identification disproportionately held by white voters, but 
prohibited the use of other forms of identification, including 
student IDs, tribal IDs, or other forms of federal or State 
government IDs.\166\ Texas was sued and, during the litigation, 
the record demonstrated that about 600,000 registered voters 
and approximately 1 million unregistered but eligible voters 
did not have an approved form of ID.\167\ The voter ID law also 
created barriers for voters who were elderly, economically 
disadvantaged, or lacked means to obtain an approved form of 
ID.\168\ An elderly Latino voter, who testified at trial, took 
pride in walking to the polls and voting in every 
election.\169\ He did not have a vehicle and did not have the 
required IDs under the voter ID law. After Texas enacted the 
voter ID law, he was unable to vote in three elections before 
his passing.\170\ It was proved at trial that more than half a 
million eligible voters were disenfranchised by Texas's voter 
ID law, but by the time the plaintiffs prevailed in their 
litigation, it was too late to address voting discrimination 
that occurred in those elections that took place while the law 
remained in effect.\171\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \164\See Subcommittee on Elections Report at 59-69; Legislative 
Proposals to Strengthen the Voting Rights Act: Hearing Before the H. 
Comm. on the Judiciary, 116th Cong. (2019) [hereinafter ``VRA 
Legislation Hearing''] (statement of Arturo Vargas, Chief Exec. 
Officer, Nat'l Ass'n of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) 
at 17) [hereinafter ``Vargas Statement''] (noting ``long line of 
surveys and studies has consistently shown that potential African 
American, Latino, Native American, and other underrepresented voters 
disproportionately lack the identification documents they may need to 
register and to vote in person, and disproportionately face barriers to 
obtaining required identification''); See Garza Statement at 3; 
Listening Session on Voting Rights and Elections in Brownsville Tex., 
Subcomm. on Elections, H. Comm. on House Admin., 116th Cong., 
Unofficial Tr. 31, 36 (2019) [hereinafter ``Texas Listening Session'']; 
Kase Testimony, Unofficial Tr. 87; see also Practice-Based 
Preclearance: Protecting Against Tactics Persistently Used to Silence 
Minorities Communities' Votes 39-41 (2019), https://www.maldef.org/wp-
content/uploads/2019/11/Practice-Based-Preclearance-Report-Nov-2019-
FINAL.pdf.
    \165\See Levitt Statement at 10; Shelby Anniversary Hearing, Aden 
Testimony at 10.
    \166\See Derrick Johnson Statement at 5; Shelby Anniversary 
Hearing, Aden Testimony at 10.
    \167\See Shelby Anniversary Hearing, Aden Testimony at 10. Texas 
VRA Hearing (statement of Jose Garza, Voting Rights Counsel, Mexican 
Am. Legislative Caucus, Tex. House of Rep. at 4) [hereinafter ``Garza 
Statement''].
    \168\See Garza Statement at 3; Texas Listening Session, Unofficial 
Tr. 31, 36.
    \169\See Texas VRA Hearing, Unofficial Tr. 54.
    \170\See id. at 55.
    \171\See Shelby Anniversary Hearing, Aden Testimony at 4; H.R. 1 
Hearing, Unofficial Tr. 77-78 (testimony of Sherrilyn Ifill, President 
and Dir.-Counsel, NAACP LDF) [hereinafter ``Ifill Testimony''].
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mississippi previously submitted a voter ID measure to the 
DOJ for preclearance, but had not obtained approval to 
implement it, yet within hours of the Shelby County decision, 
Mississippi announced that it would implement this voter ID 
law.\172\ Similarly, the day after the Shelby County decision 
was handed down, Alabama implemented its voter ID law, which 
required voters to present a form of government-issued photo 
identification to vote and included a provision that would 
allow a potential voter without the required ID to vote if that 
person could be ``positively identified'' by two poll workers, 
a provision that harkened back to pre-1965 vouch-to-vote 
systems.\173\ The Subcommittee on the Constitution received 
testimony that about 118,000 registered voters lacked the photo 
ID required by this law, that minority voters are two times 
more likely than white voters to lack the required ID, and that 
African American voters are over four times more likely than 
other voters to have their provisional ballots rejected because 
of a lack of acceptable ID.\174\ There also were reports that 
poll workers were improperly rejecting voters who had valid 
photo IDs because their residential addresses on the IDs did 
not match the addresses on their voter registration 
documents.\175\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \172\Perez Statement at 3.
    \173\See id.; see also Shelby Anniversary Hearing, Aden Testimony 
at 6; Ross Statement at 4.
    \174\See Shelby Anniversary Hearing, Aden Testimony at 6; H.R. 1 
Hearing, Unofficial Tr. 160 (Ifill Testimony).
    \175\See Shelby Anniversary Hearing, Aden Testimony at 7.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In particular, Native American voters have faced extreme 
difficulty in obtaining the required IDs to vote.\176\ For 
example, North Dakota implemented a law requiring voters to 
provide IDs with a physical, residential street address, 
threatening to disenfranchise thousands of Native Americans 
living on rural reservations where many do not have residential 
addresses.\177\ Native Americans including veterans, school 
teachers, elders, and other life-long voters, who the poll 
workers had known their entire lives, were being turned away 
from polls because they did not have the required IDs. Voters 
described the hurt and humiliation they felt when they were 
unable to vote.\178\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \176\See Subcommittee on Elections Report at 62-66; James Thomas 
Tucker, et al., Field Hearing Report Identifying and Removing Barriers 
to Political Participation by Native Voters, The Native Am. Rights Fund 
99-109 (2019).
    \177\See Subcommittee on Elections Report at 90-97; Evidence 
Hearing (statement of Natalie A. Landreth, Senior Staff Attorney, 
Native Am. Rights Fund at 3) [hereinafter ``Landreth Statement'']; 
Derrick Johnson Statement at 11; Shelby Anniversary Hearing, Aden 
Testimony at 12; H.R. 1 Hearing, Unofficial Tr. 173-175 (Ifill 
Testimony); Lhamon Statement at 5-6; Hearing on Voting Rights and 
Election Admin. in the Dakotas, Subcomm. on Elections, H. Comm. on 
House Admin., 116th Cong. 1 (2019) [hereinafter ``Dakotas Oversight 
Hearing''] (statement of Alysia LaCounte, General Counsel, on behalf of 
Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa at 2-3); Dakotas Hearing (statement of 
Myra Pearson, Chairwoman, Spirit Lake Tribe at 1-4); Dakotas Hearing 
(statement of Charles Walker, Councilman at Large, on behalf of 
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe at 2-6) [hereinafter ``Walker Statement'']; 
Dakotas Hearing (statement of Roger White Owl, Chief Exec. Officer, on 
behalf of Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation at 2-3).
    \178\See Dakotas Hearing (statement of Jacqueline De Leon Staff 
Attorney, Native Am. Rights Fund at 1) [hereinafter ``De Leon 
Statement'']. See also Dakotas Hearing (statement of O.J. Semans, Sr. 
Co-Exec. Dir., Four Directions, Inc. at 2).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
            4. Purging of Voter Rolls
    Testimony received by the Subcommittee on the Constitution 
established that purging of voter rolls in a racially-
discriminatory manner continues to occur at an extremely high 
rate. A report submitted as part of testimony by the Brennan 
Center for Justice at New York University School of Law stated 
that ``between 2016 and 2018, counties with a history of voter 
discrimination have continued purging people from the rolls at 
much higher rates than other counties,'' and found that 
approximately ``17 million voters were purged nationwide 
between 2016 and 2018.''\179\ One witness testified that the 
Shelby County decision has had a profound and negative impact: 
for the two election cycles between 2012 and 2016, 
jurisdictions no longer subject to preclearance had purge rates 
significantly higher than jurisdictions that were not subject 
to pre-clearance in 2013.\180\ Moreover, Alabama, Arizona, 
Indiana, and Maine have written policies that by their terms 
violate the 1993 National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and 
provide for illegal purges.\181\ Alabama, Indiana, and Maine 
have policies for using data from a database called the 
Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program (Crosscheck) 
to immediately purge voters without providing the notice and 
waiting period required by federal law.\182\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \179\Voter Purge Rates Remain High, Analysis Finds, Brennan Center 
for Justice at New York Univ. School of Law (Aug. 1, 2019) (analyzing 
2019 U.S. Election Assistance Commission data), https://
www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/voter-purge-rates-
remain-high-analysis-finds; see also America Oversight Hearing 
(statement of Michael Waldman, President, Brennan Center for Justice at 
3 [hereinafter ``Waldman Statement'']).
    \180\See Perez Statement at 6. See also Best Practices Hearing 
(statement of Myrna Perez, Deputy Dir., Democracy Program and Dir., 
Voting Rights & Elections, Project Brennan Center for Justice at New 
York Univ. School of Law at 7) [hereinafter ``Perez Oversight 
Statement''] and Appx. A at 9 (``Purge practices can be applied in a 
discriminatory manner that disproportionately affects minority voters. 
In particular, matching voter lists with other government databases to 
ferret out ineligible voters can generate discriminatory results if the 
matching is done without adequate safeguards. African American, Asian 
American, and Latino voters are much more likely than Caucasians to 
have one of the most common 100 last names in the United States, 
resulting in a higher rate of false positives.'')
    \181\Federal standards for purges were set in the NVRA. See Perez 
Oversight Statement, Appx. E at 1.
    \182\See Derrick Johnson Statement at 8; Perez Oversight Statement, 
Appx. E. at 1-2.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Testimony revealed numerous examples of purging since the 
Shelby County decision. For example, Georgia purged 
approximately 1.4 to 1.5 million voters between the 2012 and 
2016 elections--double its rate between 2008 and 2012.\183\ 
This represented an additional 750,000 voters purged from its 
rolls between 2012 and 2016 as compared to the period between 
2008 and 2012. Of the State's 159 counties, 156 reported 
increases in removal rates post-Shelby County and included the 
State's 86 most populous counties.\184\ In addition, the 
increase in purge rates occurred during a period when Georgia 
was criticized for several controversial voter registration 
practices.\185\ Also, Georgia was sued for blocking 
registration applications between 2013 and 2016 based on the 
``exact match'' policy, which required that information 
(including hyphens in names) match state databases 
precisely.\186\ The Subcommittee on the Constitution heard 
testimony that in 2017, Georgia purged half a million voters in 
a single day, an 8 percent reduction in Georgia's voting 
population, and that an estimated 107,000 of these voters were 
removed through arguably an unconstitutional application of a 
use-it-or-lose-it law.\187\ In addition, during the 2018 
elections, a disturbing number of people were given provisional 
ballots, not because they were not effectively registered, but 
because of ``malfeasance and incompetence of the Secretary of 
State's office.''\188\ Stacey Abrams testified that ``due to 
the purging of voters and the patterns of purging and the 
number of people who were forced to cast provisional ballots 
because of the ineffectiveness and the malfeasance of that 
process, there is essentially a racial map of African American 
communities that were subject to casting provisional ballots 
which have to be remedied.''\189\ She described that although 
voter turnout was high in 2018, it does not mean that voter 
suppression did not occur:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \183\Abrams Statement at 3; Perez Oversight Statement, Appx. at 8.
    \184\See Perez Oversight Statement, Appx. E at 4.
    \185\Id.
    \186\Id.
    \187\See Derrick Johnson Statement at 7; Abrams Statement at 3.
    \188\See Abrams Statement, Unofficial Tr. 61.
    \189\Id. at 68.

          In the State of Georgia, there has been an argument 
        that because we had the highest turnout record in 
        Georgia for voter turnout in 2018, there could not have 
        been voter suppression. I would argue that that is the 
        moral equivalent of saying that because more people get 
        in the water, there can't be sharks.\190\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \190\Id. at 58.

    Ms. Abrams also testified that while maintaining effective 
voter rolls is a legitimate purpose, Georgia's flawed policies 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
have directly harmed minority voters:

          There is a legitimate purpose to laws that allow for 
        the cleaning of rolls for people who have passed 
        [a]way, for people who are no longer eligible to vote, 
        for people who moved from the State, and I do not 
        believe there is any well-intentioned person who would 
        say that cleaning and maintaining the rolls is 
        improper.
          But what we argue is that the approach that has been 
        taken has been so egregious and so flawed and sometimes 
        so directly intended to harm voters of color, that we 
        have undermined the intention of actually maintaining 
        access to the rolls.
          In the State of Georgia, as I pointed out, 1.4 
        million people were purged between 2010 and 2018. Half 
        a million were purged in a single day in the State of 
        Georgia. That should raise alarms for anyone, because 
        the reality is when you show up to vote, and you are 
        told that you cannot cast a ballot because you have 
        been removed from the rolls, even though you know that 
        you should not have been, you are now called upon to 
        become your own attorney, to argue with who is likely a 
        volunteer that you have the right to vote. And if you 
        happen to be in one of those hyper-suppressive 
        communities, that ability may be quashed.\191\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \191\See id. at 60-61.

    As in Georgia, Texas purged an extremely high number of 
voters from its rolls. Texas purged approximately 363,000 more 
voters between 2012 and 2014 than it did between 2008 and 
2010.\192\ Recently in 2019, the Texas Secretary of State in 
concert with the State Attorney General targeted voters based 
on their national origin and attempted to remove approximately 
95,000 registered voters based on alleged ``voter fraud.''\193\ 
After issuing an advisory to county voter registrars about non-
citizens and voter registration, the Texas Secretary of State 
issued a press release identifying the approximately 95,000 
voters as ``non-U.S. citizens [who] have a matching voter 
registration record'' and that ``58,000 of whom have voted in 
one or more Texas elections.''\194\ After a suit was filed 
against the State of Texas, it was determined that the list of 
voters had used flawed methodology to identify non-citizen 
voters and in doing so inaccurately identified naturalized 
citizens as non-citizens.\195\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \192\See Perez Oversight Statement, Appx. E at 4.
    \193\See Perez Statement at 6; Herrera Statement at 6; Texas VRA 
Hearing (Statement of Jerry Vattamala, Dir., Democracy Program, Asian 
Am. Legal Def. and Educ. Fund at 6) [hereinafter ``Vattamala 
Statement'']; VRA History Hearing, Unofficial Tr. 87 (testimony of 
Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel, Mexican Am. Legal Def. 
and Educ. Fund) [hereinafter ``Saenz History Statement'']; see also 
America Oversight Hearing, Unofficial Tr. 17 (Ho Statement).
    \194\See Subcommittee on Elections Report at 43.
    \195\See Herrera Statement at 6; Vattamala Statement at 6; Saenz 
History Statement at 4.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The record evidence establishes that voters in other States 
were also purged from rolls based on faulty and inaccurate 
databases and records. For example, in Beaufort County, North 
Carolina, two-thirds of the voters that were purged from the 
roll were African American. One North Carolinian, a 100-year-
old African American woman, lived in Belhaven, North Carolina 
her entire life and voted regularly for decades.\196\ Shortly 
before the 2016 presidential election, however, her voter 
registration was challenged based on a postcard that was sent 
in a mass mailing by a local challenge.\197\ Between 2016 and 
2018, North Carolina removed 11.7 percent of voters from the 
rolls and only 19 of its counties purged fewer than 10 percent 
of their voters; no county purged fewer than 8 percent.\198\ 
These purges have been especially troubling for minority 
voters--in 90 out of 100 counties, voters of color were over-
represented among the purged group.\199\ In Ohio, over 200,000 
voters were purged who had not voted in the last election and 
who allegedly failed to respond after receiving a postcard in 
the mail.\200\ For example, Chairperson Fudge's Subcommittee on 
Elections noted that a 2016 Reuters analysis of Ohio's voter 
purge found that purges of voter rolls have disproportionately 
affected minority voters:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \196\See NC Oversight Hearing (statement of Patricia Timmons-
Goodson, Vice-Chairwoman, U.S. Comm'n on Civil Rights at 5-6) 
[hereinafter ``Timmons-Goodson Statement''].
    \197\See id. at 6.
    \198\See Perez Oversight Statement, Appx. F at 4.
    \199\See id.
    \200\See Best Practices Hearing, Unofficial Tr. 13-14; Ohio 
Oversight Hearing (statement of Naila Awan, Senior Counsel, Demos at 1-
4) [hereinafter ``Awan Statement'']; See also Perez Oversight 
Statement, Appx. E at 6; Derrick Johnson Statement at 7; see also 
Voting Rights and Election Admin. in Am.: Hearing Before the Subcomm. 
on Elections of the H. Comm. on House Admin., 116th Cong. (2019) 
(statement of Hannah Fried, Dir., All Voting is Local at 12-13) 
[hereinafter ``Fried Statement''].

          `[I]n predominantly African American neighborhoods 
        around Cincinnati, 10 percent of registered voters had 
        been removed due to inactivity since 2012, compared to 
        just four percent in the suburban Indian Hill. The 
        study further found that more than 144,000 people were 
        removed from the rolls in Ohio's three largest 
        counties, which includes the cities of Cleveland, 
        Cincinnati, and Columbus--hitting hardest neighborhoods 
        that are low-income and have a high proportion of Black 
        voters.' Ohio's Secretary of State Frank LaRose 
        recently revealed errors in the state's purge list as 
        groups found tens of thousands of people were 
        wrongfully on the list.\201\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \201\See Subcommittee on Elections Report at 42-4; see also 
QuickFacts, The Village of Indian Hill city, Ohio, at https://
www.census.gov/quickfacts/thevillageofindianhillcityohio (providing 
population estimate of The Village of Indian Hill city as approximately 
88% white).

    In addition, one witness testified that in Ohio there is 
also a concern that new U.S. citizens, such as refugees who 
become naturalized citizens, are more susceptible to being 
purged erroneously due to lack of understanding about federal 
and State laws, intimidation by official notices (e.g., like 
the notice sent out by Ohio after a period of inactivity by the 
voter), and their limited language skills.\202\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \202\See Ohio Oversight Hearing (statement of Elaine Tso, Interim 
Co-Chief Exec. Officer, Asian Services in Action at 5).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In Virginia, previously covered counties removed 
approximately 379,019 more voters between 2012 and 2016 than 
between 2008 and 2012.\203\ All the previously covered Virginia 
counties except one increased removal rates after Shelby 
County.\204\ A contributing factor to the high purge rates 
could be due to a highly problematic purge process that 
Virginia mounted in 2013.\205\ More than 99 percent of 
Virginia's voters live in counties that have increased removal 
rates after Shelby County.\206\ Also, nearly 39,000 voters were 
removed from Virginia's voter rolls when the State relied on a 
faulty database to delete voters who allegedly moved out of the 
commonwealth.\207\ In Florida, from 2008 to 2010, the median 
purge rate was 0.2 percent and that number jumped to 3.6 
percent from 2012 to 2014.\208\ Chairperson Fudge's 
Subcommittee on Elections noted that between 2000 and 2012, 
Florida engaged in systematic purges of purported ``non-
citizens'' from the voter rolls by comparing rolls to driver's 
license data, which is an unreliable method because the 
driver's license databases do not reflect citizenship:\209\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \203\See Perez Oversight Hearing, Appx. E at 5.
    \204\See id. 
    \205\See id.; Perez Statement at 7.
    \206\Perez Oversight Statement, Appx. E at 5.
    \207\See Perez Oversight Statement, Appx. E at 1.
    \208\See Perez Oversight Statement, Appx. F at 2.
    \209\Subcommittee on Elections Report at 44.

          The vast majority of voters on Florida's 2012 purge 
        list were people of color. The data in a federal 
        complaint alleging Section 2 violations (based on 
        Florida voter registration data) showed that 87 percent 
        were voters of color: 61 percent were Hispanic (whereas 
        14 percent of all registered voters in Florida were 
        Hispanic); 16 percent were Black (whereas 14 percent of 
        all registered voters were Black); 16 percent were 
        White (whereas 70 percent of registered voters were 
        White); and 5 percent were Asian American (whereas only 
        2 percent of registered voters were Asian).\210\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \210\Id. at 44-45.

    In 2013, Florida officials sought to purge thousands of 
voters who were purportedly non-citizens, but during the prior 
year, Florida's purge list was inaccurate and was reduced from 
180,000 supposed non-citizens to approximately 2,700.\211\ 
Between 2016 and 2018, Florida purged more than 7 percent of 
its voters.\212\ In 2016, New York election officials 
erroneously purged over 200,000 names from the rolls, with no 
public warning and little notice to those who had been 
purged.\213\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \211\See Perez Statement at 7.
    \212\See Perez Oversight Statement, Appx. F at 2.
    \213\See Perez Oversight Statement at 4.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In Arkansas, the Secretary of State sent the county clerks 
more than 7,700 names to be removed because of purported felony 
convictions.\214\ The roster, however, was highly inaccurate 
and included people who had never been convicted of a felony as 
well as persons with prior convictions whose voting rights had 
been restored.\215\ In Arkansas, voters who supposedly had 
criminal convictions were purged from the voter rolls, but the 
list erroneously included people who did not have convictions, 
but were involved in other court proceedings such as civil 
legal proceedings for a divorce.\216\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \214\See id. at 4; Perez Statement at 7.
    \215\See Perez Statement at 7.
    \216\See Perez Oversight Statement, Appx. E at 5.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
            5. Voting Suppression Issues Related to Polling Sites
    The Subcommittees received testimony that voters were 
unable to vote due to the closure and relocation of polling 
sites, transportation to polling sites, intimidation of voters, 
and other issues, primarily in communities of color.\217\ A 
report by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, 
submitted as part of testimony, analyzed polling places in over 
750 counties that were previously covered under Section 5 and 
found that 1,688 polling sites were closed between 2012 and 
2018, almost double the 868 closures found in the previous 
report.\218\ For example, Georgia has had a long troubled 
history involving polling sites.\219\ Indeed, Georgia's 
practices for maintaining and reporting polling place data to 
the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) were so 
inaccurate and unreliable that a civil rights advocacy 
organization was not able to include Georgia in a 2016 
report.\220\ Reporting by a major newspaper, however, revealed 
that since the Shelby County decision, approximately 214 
polling places have closed in the State, and most of the 
counties that closed polling places had significant African 
American populations.\221\ Ms. Abrams described the poll sites 
issues in Georgia as creating a ``chilling effect'' on the 
right to vote:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \217\See Subcommittee on Elections Report at 53-59; Practice-Based 
Preclearance: Protecting Against Tactics Persistently Used To Silence 
Minorities Communities' Votes at 42-48 (2019), https://www.maldef.org/
wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Practice-Based-Preclearance-Report-Nov-2019-
FINAL.pdf; see also America Oversight Hearing, Unofficial Tr. 69-71 
(testimony of Hannah Fried, Dir., All Voting is Local).
    \218\See Vargas Statement at 20-21 (``[P]olling place relocation 
plans frequently move voting further from communities of color, even 
though members of those communities have less access to transportation 
and less flexibility to set aside work and family-related obligations 
to travel to and wait at polling locations . . . The geographic 
concentration of communities of color makes it more likely that many 
minority voters suffer when a polling places [sic] closes, and more 
likely that decisionmakers purposefully or incidentally put minority 
voters at [sic] disadvantage by withdrawing resources from their 
communities.''); Rich Statement at 5; Evidence Hearing (Statement of 
Vanita Gupta, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and 
Human Rights at 4) [hereinafter ``Gupta Evidence Statement''] (``The 
Shelby decision paved the way for systematic statewide efforts to 
reduce the number of polling places in Texas (-750), Arizona (-320), 
and Georgia (-214). Quieter efforts to reduce the number of polling 
places without clear notice or justification spread throughout 
Louisiana (-126), Mississippi (-96), Alabama (-72), North Carolina 
(-29), and Alaska (-6)); Democracy Diverted, Polling Place Closures and 
the Right to Vote, The Leadership Conference Education Fund (2019), 
http://civilrightsdocs.info/pdf/reports//Democracy-Diverted.pdf.
    \219\See Butler Statement at 2-3; Abrams Statement at 3-4; Georgia 
Oversight Hearing (statement of Cliff Albright, Cofounder, Black Votes 
Matter at 1-3) [hereinafter ``Albright Statement''].
    \220\See Chapman Statement at 4.
    \221\See id.; see also Gupta Evidence Statement at 3-4 (``We found 
1,173 fewer polling places in 2018--despite a significant increase in 
voter turnout.'' Since Shelby, Texas has closed 750 polling places; 
Arizona closed 320; Georgia, 214; Louisiana, Mississippi, North 
Carolina, and Alabama trail behind them.).

          We also know that Georgia had an extraordinary number 
        of poll closures. We had 214 polls close out of roughly 
        3,000. Those are largely African American communities. 
        And while those poll closures may have been permissible 
        because of some nuance of law, what we found was that 
        there was a disproportionate effect on communities of 
        color, largely African American, particularly poor. If 
        you do not own transportation, and there is no public 
        transportation, the closure of a polling place that is 
        2 miles from your house now being moved to 10 miles 
        from your house has not only a chilling effect on your 
        right to vote, it absolutely negates your ability to 
        cast that vote. . . .\222\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \222\Abrams Statement at 68.

    One of the most egregious examples of attempted polling 
place closures happened before the November 2018 midterm 
election in Randolph County where the Board of Elections 
proposed to close seven out of the nine polling places in a 
county whose population is 60 percent African American.\223\ 
The poll closures in Randolph County would have had the effect 
of requiring African American voters in poor rural areas, many 
lacking transportation, to travel long distances to vote, 
potentially dissuading many from voting.\224\ In Fulton County, 
the Board of Elections violated State law that required proper 
public notice in its attempt to close polling places in 
neighborhoods that were over 80 percent African American, 
affecting over 14,000 voters.\225\ In Irwin County, the Board 
of Elections tried to close the only polling place that existed 
in the only African American neighborhood of the county, 
affecting thousands of voters, contrary to the recommendations 
of the non-partisan Association of County Commissioners of 
Georgia. The board alleged that it wanted to close the polling 
place to save costs, but managed to keep open a polling place 
located at the Jefferson Davis Memorial Park in a neighborhood 
that was 99 percent white.\226\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \223\See Derrick Johnson Statement at 9-10; Chapman Statement at 4; 
Young Statement at 2.
    \224\See Chapman Statement at 4.
    \225\See Young Statement at 2-3.
    \226\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Voters in Georgia also were subjected to extremely long 
lines, sometimes being forced to wait for hours on end to 
vote.\227\ A polling place in Grady County was relocated only 
two weeks prior to the 2018 elections in Grady County without 
proper notice to the community.\228\ Voters arrived at the 
original polling place and had to be directed to the actual 
proper location.\229\ There were a number of people who had 
left work to vote and drove to the original location, but 
because they had limited time to be away from work, they could 
not drive to the proper location and were unable to vote.\230\ 
One witness testified that a group of seniors at a county 
senior center arranged to ride to the polling site with Black 
Votes Matter on the ``Blackest Bus in America,'' but a 
Jefferson County official instructed the seniors to return to 
the center on the alleged basis that county policy prohibits 
political activities on county property.\231\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \227\See Ifill Testimony at 6.
    \228\See H.R. 1 Hearing, Unofficial Tr. 150-51.
    \229\See id.
    \230\See id.
    \231\See Albright Statement at 2.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In Texas, voters lost approximately 750 polling locations 
since the Shelby County decision and most of the closures (590) 
took place after the 2014 midterm election.\232\ Many of the 
closures took places in counties with a significant population 
of African American and Latino citizens: Dallas County (41 
percent Latino and 22 percent African American) closed 74 
polling locations, Travis County (34 percent Latino) closed 67, 
Harris County (42 percent Latino and 19 percent African 
American) closed 52, Brazoria (30 percent Latino and 13 percent 
African American) closed 37, and Nueces County (63 percent 
Latino) closed 37.\233\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \232\See Gupta Evidence Statement at 5.
    \233\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In Arizona, polling places were closed throughout the 
State, many with significant populations of Latino voters. In 
advance of the 2016 general election, Maricopa County (31 
percent Latino) closed 171 polling locations, Mohave County (16 
percent Latino) closed 34, Cochise County (35 percent Latino) 
closed 32, and Pima County (37 percent Latino) closed 31.\234\ 
The scale of closures is also alarming: Cochise County (-65 
percent), Graham County (-50 percent), Mohave County (-49 
percent), and Gila County (-48 percent), all of which closed 
about half or more of their polling places.\235\ Cochise 
County, for example, is located on the U.S.-Mexico border and 
has had a long history of problems providing ballot access to 
its Latino voters.\236\ In the 2012 election, prior to the 
Shelby decision, the EAC reported that there were 49 polling 
places serving the county's 130,000 residents; in 2016, the 
number of polling places dropped to 18.\237\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \234\See id.
    \235\See id.
    \236\See Chapman Statement at 3-4.
    \237\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In addition, voters were burdened with long lines at the 
polling sites. In Texas, in some instances, once voters waited 
for an inordinate amount of time in one line, they had to stand 
in a different line to get a provisional ballot.\238\ There 
were long lines in Charleston, South Carolina, and during 
election night as the elections were being called, African 
Americans voters were still standing in line after two to three 
hours.\239\ Voters in Florida experienced similar issues due to 
poll site closures and the lack of accessibility to sites.\240\ 
The Subcommittee also heard testimony about the widespread 
problems with inaccessibility at polling sites for voters with 
disabilities, specifically in New Hampshire and Kansas.\241\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \238\See Ifill Testimony at 169.
    \239\See id.
    \240\See Gupta H.R. 1 Testimony at 182.
    \241\See Lhamon Statement at 5; see generally America Oversight 
Hearing, statement of Michelle Bishop, Voting Rights Specialist, 
National Disability Rights Network at 105-107.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Native American voters in particular have continued to face 
unique barriers with regard to voting. As noted by the 
Subcommittee on Elections Report, those barriers include ``high 
rates of poverty and homelessness on reservations, a lack of 
traditional addresses, difficulties obtaining required IDs and 
registering to vote, and long distances to travel to polling 
locations.''\242\ The Subcommittee on Elections Report also 
noted that research conducted by the National Congress of 
American Indians found that for Native Americans, the voter 
turnout rate is five to 14 percentage points lower than the 
rate of many other racial and ethnic groups.\243\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \242\Subcommittee on Elections Report at 108.
    \243\Id. at 87.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    At hearings before the Subcommittee on the Constitution and 
Chairperson Fudge's Subcommittee on Elections in Arizona and 
North Dakota, tribal leaders, litigators, and advocates 
testified about voting disenfranchisement in Native American 
communities.\244\ The Subcommittees received testimony 
regarding voting challenges faced by Native American voters and 
communities, including the closure of polling locations, the 
lack of satellite voting offices on Native American 
reservations, long distances and lack of transportation to 
polling locations, voter ID laws that exclude tribal 
identification cards as accepted ID, the lack of translated 
voting materials in Native languages, purging voters with non-
traditional mailing addresses from the rolls, the assignment of 
voters to incorrect precincts based on inadequate voter 
registration forms, vote dilution due to redistricting, 
unreliable technology and lack of access to the internet, and 
voters who are homeless or facing housing instability.\245\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \244\See id. at 85-108.
    \245\See Subcommittee on Elections Report at 89-108; Discriminatory 
Barriers Hearing at 7-8 (Statement of Dr. James Thomas Tucker, Pro Bono 
Voting Rights Counsel, Native Am. Rights Fund) [hereinafter ``Tucker 
Statement'']; Lhamon Statement at 4; Landreth Statement at 3; VRA 
Legislation Hearing (Statement of Bryan L. Sells at 5, 17-19); Voting 
Rights and Election Admin. in Am.: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on 
Elections of the H. Comm. on House Admin., 116th Cong. (2019) 
(testimony of Catherine E. Lhamon, Chair, U.S. Comm'n on Civil Rights); 
see generally James Thomas Tucker, et al., Field Hearing Report 
Identifying and Removing Barriers to Political Participation by Native 
Voters, The Native Am. Rights Fund (2019).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    For example, Alaska has proposed a shift to vote by mail, 
but mail delivery is a significant issue. Mail delivery is slow 
and often by air service, which can take as long as two to 
three weeks.\246\ As noted in the Subcommittee on Elections 
Report, testimony received before the Alaska State Advisory 
Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights revealed that 
during times of inclement weather, some villages may be 
inaccessible by air for several weeks at a time.\247\ In-person 
voting in Alaska poses barriers to access as well, because the 
poll sites are often too far away from where residents live. 
Some Native American voters had to travel for a hundred miles 
to get to a poll site.\248\ In one case, a polling place was 
moved away from a village and the Native Alaskan voters' only 
option was to travel to their polling site by airplane.\249\ In 
another case, a Native American elder had to walk two miles to 
be able to get to a voting place.\250\ In Nevada, for example, 
the closest polling locations were extremely far away, some 
located hundreds of miles away from native communities.\251\ In 
Kansas, Native American voters, who brought a tribal ID, were 
turned away at the polling place because poll workers were not 
aware that tribal IDs were considered an acceptable ID under 
State law.\252\ For Native Americans living in North Dakota, 
there were several issues included ill-equipped polling sites 
that ran out of ballots, extremely long distances to polling 
site locations, confused voters showing up at the wrong polling 
site, voters including college students being turned away 
because of the lack of an approved ID, the lack of early voting 
opportunities in Indian country, and the failure to provide 
notice regarding polling site locations.\253\ Utah moved to 
all-mail balloting in 2014, but allowed in-person early voting 
at a single location, which was easily accessible to White 
voters, but three times less accessible to Navajo voters who 
had to drive approximately three hours to get to the polling 
site.\254\ In addition, a vote-by-mail option may be facially 
neutral and beneficial to voters who do not have easy access to 
a polling site, but in Arizona, for example, only 26 percent of 
Native Americans reside on a U.S. Postal Service carrier route 
as opposed to 96% of non-Native Americans who live on these 
routes.\255\ Recently, States also have made efforts to pass 
laws prohibiting the so-called practice of ``ballot 
harvesting,'' which would make it a crime for groups or 
individuals to collect and transmit ballots for voters, and 
ultimately disenfranchises voters living in rural areas who are 
disabled, elderly, and/or lack transportation to the 
polls.\256\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \246\See Subcommittee on Elections Report at 102.
    \247\Id.
    \248\See Gupta H.R. 1 Statement at 175.
    \249\Subcommittee on Elections Report at 105.
    \250\See Lhamon Statement at 38.
    \251\See Tucker Statement at 18.
    \252\See Lhamon Statement at 37-38.
    \253\See Subcommittee on Elections Report at 90-97.
    \254\See Subcommittee on Elections Report at 53 (citing testimony 
of Kristen Clarke).
    \255\See Gupta Evidence Statement at 23; see also Tucker Statement 
at 20 (explaining states like Nevada and California give discretion to 
country clerks to designate precincts in rural and tribal areas as all 
vote-by-mail if they do not meet a designated threshold of registered 
voters which results in the suppression of Native American voter 
participation); Landreth Statement at 2 (``outside of Pima and Maricopa 
counties, only 18 percent of Native Americans have home mail 
delivery''); James Thomas Tucker, et al., Field Hearing Report 
Identifying and Removing Barriers to Political Participation by Native 
Voters, The Native Am. Rights Fund 129, 132 (2019).
    \256\See Voting Rights and Election Admin. in Am.: Hearing Before 
the Subcomm. on Elections of the H. Comm. on House Admin., 116th Cong. 
(2019) (testimony of Elena Nunez, Dir. of State Operations and Ballot 
Measure Strategies, Common Cause); James Thomas Tucker, et al., Field 
Hearing Report Identifying and Removing Barriers to Political 
Participation by Native Voters, The Native Am. Rights Fund 154-155 
(2019; Subcommittee on Elections at 98-102.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    States also have denied limited English proficient (LEP) 
voters the right to language assistance and assistance by a 
person of the voter's choice.\257\ For example, in Texas in 
2015, Williamson County denied an Indian American voter the 
right to have her son act as her interpreter because her son 
was registered to vote in a neighboring county, which was 
prohibited by the Texas Election Code.\258\ In 2018, about one 
week before the 2018 midterm election, a civil rights 
organization received reports that election officials in Harris 
County, Texas announced that volunteer Korean interpreters 
would no longer be allowed to offer their assistance to LEP 
voters within poll sites and would have to stay beyond the 100-
foot zone outside of poll sites, where they would not be able 
to assist nearly as many LEP voters.\259\ Witnesses also 
testified that language assistance was lacking in Florida for 
Haitian Creole and Spanish-speaking voters, and in North 
Carolina for Puerto Rican voters. \260\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \257\See Voting Rights and Election Admin. in Am.: Hearing Before 
the Subcomm. on Elections of the H. Comm. on House Admin., 116th Cong. 
(2019) (statement of John Yang, President and Exec. Dir., Asian Am. 
Advancing Justice (AAAJ) at 9); Voting Rights and Election 
Administration in Am.: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Elections of the 
H. Comm. on House Admin., 116th Cong. (Oct. 17, 2019) (statement of 
Arturo Vargas, Chief Exec. Officer, NALEO Educ. Fund at 6-7).
    \258\See Vattamala Statement at 7.
    \259\See Vattamala Statement at 7.
    \260\See Subcommittee on Elections Report at 73; Florida Oversight 
Hearing (Statement of Marleine Bastien, Exec. Dir., Family Action 
Network Movement and FANM in Action at 2); Batista Statement at 1; see 
also Shelby Anniversary Hearing (Statement of Kira Romero-Craft, 
Managing Attorney, Latino Justice, PRLDEF at 2-3).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Furthermore, the Subcommittee on the Constitution received 
testimony about racist propaganda that targeted minority 
candidates, meritless lawsuits against voting rights 
organizations, and voter intimidation and harassment at polling 
locations.\261\ For example, in New Jersey, Asian American 
candidates for the local school board were targeted with anti-
immigrant and xenophobic mailers and flyers.\262\ One witness 
testified that the investigative unit of the Georgia Secretary 
of State's office is extremely aggressive and has engaged in a 
pattern of intimidation, including pursuing frivolous cases 
against voting rights organizations and conducting home visits 
to individual voters or activists, and community organizers 
with the intention of creating a chilling effect on civic 
engagement.\263\ In North Carolina, there was a visible 
presence of KKK members and swastikas on the street near pro-
voting marches as well as derogatory comments from bystanders 
during elections following the Shelby County decision.\264\ 
Witnesses also testified that state troopers were present near 
and in polling sites. For example, in Cordele, Georgia, a 
voting activist who partnered with Black Votes Matter was 
providing rides to the polls when he was stopped and issued a 
parking ticket by a state trooper.\265\ The trooper called for 
backup resulting in seven patrol cars. Also, in New York, 30 
Chinese American voters, many of whom were college students, 
suffered baseless citizenship and voter registration 
challenges, impeding their right to vote.\266\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \261\See Voting Rights and Election Admin. in Am.: Hearing Before 
the Subcomm. on Elections of the H. Comm. on House Admin., 116th Cong. 
(2019) (statement of Elena Nunez, Dir. of State Operations and Ballot 
Measure Strategies, Common Cause at 2-3).
    \262\See Yang Statement at 10.
    \263\See Albright Statement at 2.
    \264\See Lhamon Statement at 4-5.
    \265\See Albright Statement at 2.
    \266\See Lhamon Statement at 5.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
            6. Vote Dilution
    Numerous States, including Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, 
Louisiana, North Carolina, Texas, and Mississippi, have 
continued to use redistricting plans and other means to dilute 
the strength of votes cast by racial and language minority 
voters.\267\ For example, in 2015, the Fayette County 
Commission in Georgia attempted to revert to an at-large voting 
system in a special election in 2015 to replace an African 
American Commissioner who passed away unexpectedly.\268\ In 
Gwinnett County, Georgia in 2015, the redistricting plans for 
the County Board of Commissioners and Board of Education 
resulted in no African American, Latino, or Asian American 
candidates being elected to those boards despite the fact that 
the county is considered to be one of the more racially diverse 
counties in the southeastern portion of the United States.\269\ 
Also, the Emanuel County School Board in Georgia was sued for 
diluting the strength of African American voters by ``packing'' 
most of them into one district and dispersing the remaining 
African American voters among the other six districts.\270\ 
African American citizens comprised 81 percent of the voting-
age population in one of the districts and a minority in all of 
the other six.\271\ Although African American citizens made up 
one-third of the county's voting-age population and close to 
half of the students in Emanuel County, and although African 
American candidates had run in other districts, there had never 
been more than one African American member on the School Board 
at one time as a result of this practice.\272\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \267\See Subcommittee on Elections Report at 75-79; Practice-Based 
Preclearance: Protecting Against Tactics Persistently Used to Silence 
Minorities Communities' Votes at 23-28 (2019), https://www.maldef.org/
wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Practice-Based-Preclearance-Report-Nov-2019-
FINAL.pdf.
    \268\See Subcommittee on Elections Report at 78-79.
    \269\See id. at 79; Greenbaum Statement at 20-21.
    \270\See id. at 21.
    \271\Id.
    \272\Id. at 21-22.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Alabama state legislature's redistricting plan for 
Birmingham eliminated the nine majority-African American and 
nine majority-white district balance in the Jefferson County 
House Delegation, which had provided African American 
legislators the ability to block unwanted local bills, and 
replaced it with ten majority-white and only eight majority-
African American districts.\273\ In 2015, over the objections 
of African American members of Jefferson County's delegation, 
the state legislature passed a statute giving majority-white 
municipalities in Jefferson County and neighboring majority-
white county governments power to appoint members to the 
Birmingham Water Works Board, which previously had been 
appointed solely by the Birmingham City Council.\274\ This 
diluted the political power of a majority-African American 
electorate over one of the most profitable water systems in 
Alabama and a valuable asset for Birmingham's economic 
development.\275\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \273\See Blacksher Statement at 7-8.
    \274\See id. at 8.
    \275\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In 2017, the at-large scheme of electing members to the 
Board of Commissioners in Jones County, North Carolina was 
challenged on the basis that the method diluted the voting 
strength of African American voters.\276\ No African American 
candidate had been elected to the Jones County Board of 
Commissioners since 1998.\277\ The North Carolina General 
Assembly also drew district lines that split a large 
historically black college, down the middle. One part of the 
campus was included in one district while the other was in 
another for the purpose of diluting the African American 
vote.\278\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \276\See Greenbaum Statement at 24-25.
    \277\Id.
    \278\See Timmons-Goodson Statement at 4.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In Texas, state officials have refused to recognize the 
growth of the Latino voter population and failed to create new 
Latino-majority districts,\279\ and attempted to dilute the 
vote of Asian Americans and other minority voters.\280\ In 
addition, Pasadena, Texas converted two single-member district 
positions on the city council to at-large seats in order to 
prevent the emergence of a Latino majority city council.\281\ 
Pasadena was not required to secure preclearance, and the 
discriminatory change went into effect immediately upon 
enactment.\282\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \279\See Saenz History Statement at 2; see also Greenbaum Statement 
at 27.
    \280\See Vattamala Statement at 8.
    \281\See Vargas Statement at 9; Herrera Statement at 3-4.
    \282\See Herrera Statement at 4.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Prior to Shelby County, the Arizona legislature submitted a 
change to the DOJ for Section 5 preclearance and proposed 
adding two at-large members to a five-single district board in 
the Maricopa County Community College District, which has a 
history of racially polarized voting.\283\ The DOJ issued a 
``more information letter'' based on concerns that the changes 
would weaken the electoral power of minority voters on the 
board and the state legislature did not seek to implement the 
change.\284\ After the Shelby County decision, the change was 
implemented, and a Latino candidate lost an at-large seat and 
two of the at-large members who won were white.\285\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \283\See Greenbaum Statement at 9.
    \284\See id.
    \285\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In Louisiana, African American citizens make up 32 percent 
of the population, but just one of the State's seven Supreme 
Court districts is majority African American in population. As 
a result, six of the seven justices on the most powerful court 
in the State are white and the State's Supreme Court districts 
have not been redrawn since 1999. Similarly, ``The Mississippi 
Plan,'' which is codified in the 1890 Mississippi Constitution, 
is a racially discriminatory election system that has prevented 
African American candidates from winning a statewide office. 
The plan requires that candidates running for state-wide office 
such as governor or attorney general must win not only a 
majority of the popular votes, but also a majority of the 
State's 122 House districts, of which two-thirds are majority 
white.\286\ If no candidate meets both requirements, a 
statewide election is decided by the state house of 
representatives.\287\ This has resulted in no African American 
candidates winning statewide office in over 130 years despite 
Mississippi having the highest African American population in 
the United States.\288\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \286\See Debbie Elliott, Black Voters Sue Over Mississippi's Jim 
Crow-Era Election Law, All Things Considered, Nat'l Public Radio (Sept. 
24, 2019), https://www.npr.org/2019/09/24/763510668/black-voters-sue-
over-mississippis-jim-crow-era-election-law.
    \287\See id.
    \288\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As noted by Chairperson Fudge's Subcommittee on Elections 
Report, in 2019, the Supreme Court held, in a 5-4 majority 
opinion, that partisan gerrymandering claims are not 
justiciable because they present a political question beyond 
the reach of the federal courts.\289\ Chief Justice Roberts, 
writing for the majority, noted that while federal courts can 
resolve ``a variety of questions surrounding districting,'' 
including racial gerrymandering, it is beyond their power to 
decide when political gerrymandering has gone too far.\290\ The 
Subcommittee on Elections notes that this decision jeopardizes 
the rights of millions of minority voters, cedes the field to 
State courts, and fails to set a national protection 
standard.\291\ As noted in the Report, ``[w]ithout the full 
protection of the Voting Rights Act requiring states and 
localities with a history of discriminatory practices to 
preclear their new maps, states could arguably create 
discriminatory maps, but color them in the rhetoric of party 
affiliation, not race.''\292\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \289\See Rucho v. Common Cause, 139 S. Ct. 2484, 2508 (2019).
    \290\Id. at 2496; see id. at 2498-2508.
    \291\Subcommittee on Elections Report at 76.
    \292\Id. at 77.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
            7. Obstacles to Restoring the Right to Vote
    Formerly incarcerated individuals continue to be 
disenfranchised and denied the right to vote. As noted in the 
Subcommittee on Elections Report, the ``criminal justice system 
disproportionately targets, arrests, sentences, and 
incarcerates people of color,'' and ``disenfranchisement 
policies for felony convictions . . . disproportionately impact 
communities of color.''\293\ For example, African American 
voters are four times more likely to lose their right to vote 
than the rest of the voting-age population and disparities in 
the criminal justice system have stripped one in every 13 
African Americans of their right to vote, which is four times 
the disenfranchisement rate of non-African Americans.\294\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \293\Id. at 119.
    \294\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Subcommittees were presented with testimony regarding 
recent efforts to place additional burdens on the right to vote 
for people who are released from prison.\295\ For example, 
although Florida recently passed a referendum ending permanent 
disenfranchisement for the formerly incarcerated, the Florida 
legislature responded by passing a law that denies voter 
eligibility to any individuals with outstanding costs, fines, 
fees, and restitution associated with their felony 
convictions.\296\ Similarly, Alabama requires formerly 
incarcerated individuals to pay their fines and fees before 
they can register to vote.\297\ Tennessee requires that these 
individuals pay all legal financial obligations, fines, and 
fees, including child support, before they may have their right 
to vote restored, a provision that places an enhanced burden on 
low-income individuals.\298\ Texas also has prosecuted formerly 
incarcerated individuals for mistakenly voting. For example, in 
Tarrant County, an individual mistakenly voted because she 
thought that once she was released from incarceration, she 
would have the right to vote restored. Texas prosecuted her for 
this mistake.\299\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \295\See id. at 119-23; Voting Rights and Election Admin. in Am.: 
Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Elections of the H. Comm. on House 
Admin., 116th Cong. (Oct. 17, 2019) (statement of Brenda Wright, Senior 
Advisor for Legal Strategies, Demos at 9-10); Voting Rights and 
Election Admin. in Am.: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Elections of the 
H. Comm. on House Admin., 116th Cong. (2019) (Statement of Michael 
Waldman, President, Brennan Center for Justice at 6-7); Voting Rights 
and Election Admin. in Am.: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Elections of 
the H. Comm. on House Admin., 116th Cong. (2019) (Testimony of Denise 
Lieberman, Senior Attorney and Program Dir., Power and Democracy, 
Advancement Project at 84); Voting Rights and Election Admin. in Am.: 
Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Elections of the H. Comm. on House 
Admin., 116th Cong. (2019) (Testimony of Virginia Kase, Chief Exec. 
Officer, League of Women Voters at 86-87); James Thomas Tucker, et al., 
Field Hearing Report Identifying and Removing Barriers to Political 
Participation by Native Voters, The Native Am. Rights Fund 111-114 
(2019).
    \296\See Subcommittee on Elections Report at 120-21; VRA 
Legislation Hearing (Statement of Janai Nelson, Associate Dir. Counsel, 
NAACP Legal Def. Fund at 8) [hereinafter ``Nelson Statement'']; VRA 
Evidence Hearing (testimony of Dale Ho, Dir., Voting Rights Project, 
Am. Civil Liberties Union at 31-32); Perez Testimony at 4; Ifill 
Testimony at 7; see also Perez Oversight Statement, Appx. H at 1-2; 
Best Practices Hearing (testimony of Ho at 16-17); Voting Rights and 
Election Admin. in Fla: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Elections of the 
H. Comm. on House Admin., 116th Cong. (2019) [hereinafter ``Florida 
Oversight Hearing''] (statement of Andrew Gillum at 28); see also 
Voting Rights and Election Admin. in Am.: Hearing Before the Subcomm. 
On Elections of the H. Comm. on House Admin., 116th Cong. (2019) 
(statement of Deuel Ross, Senior Counsel, NAACP Legal Def. Fund at 22).
    \297\See Subcommittee on Elections Report at 122; Carroll Statement 
at 11.
    \298\See H.R. 1 Hearing, Unofficial Tr. 82-83 (testimony of Ifill); 
Mulroy Statement at 8 (noting felon disenfranchisement law has a 
discriminatory impact: ``Tennessee is thus one of only 4 states where 
more than 20% of adult black population is disenfranchised.'').
    \299\See Subcommittee on Elections Report at 123; Bledsoe Statement 
at 4.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

B. Analysis of the Impact of Shelby County

    As a result of the Shelby County decision, States and 
counties that were previously required to obtain preclearance 
from the federal government before changing their voting laws 
and practices were able to enact measures with the purpose and 
effect of reducing the vote of minority communities. Although 
such laws and practices may still be challenged through Section 
2 litigation, the evidence above demonstrates that after-the-
fact litigation cannot adequately stem this tide of 
discriminatory measures. Therefore, in advancing H.R. 4, 
Congress is doing as the Supreme Court invited it to do in 
Shelby County: passing a new coverage formula for the VRA's 
preclearance requirement.\300\ Updating the Section 4(b) 
coverage formula to determine which jurisdictions are subject 
to federal preclearance under Section 5 will allow the VRA to 
operate as intended. Re-establishing the preclearance 
requirement will stop discriminatory measures in certain 
jurisdictions with a recent history of discrimination before 
they can be enacted, as Congress had intended in passing the 
VRA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \300\Shelby Cty., 570 U.S. at 557.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Testimony received by the Subcommittees revealed that, in 
the time leading up to the VRA's reenactment in 2006 and 
continuing into the present, discriminatory voting measures 
have been highly concentrated in jurisdictions that were 
previously subject to preclearance under Section 4(b). Dr. 
Peyton McCrary noted that, although the Court correctly 
observed in Shelby County that outright vote denial does not 
persist to the degree it did when the VRA was first enacted, 
Congress nevertheless assembled an extensive record of 
discriminatory voting changes that would have diluted minority 
voting strength--including intentionally discriminatory 
changes--enacted by States and counties but blocked by Section 
5 objections.''\301\ As Dr. McCrary explained:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \301\VRA History Hearing (statement of Peyton McCrary, Professorial 
Lecturer in Law, George Washington University Law School at 2).

          Once the 1965 Voting Rights Act suspended the use of 
        discriminatory tests or devices and began sending 
        federal examiners into covered jurisdictions with the 
        lowest voter registration levels, African Americans 
        began to register and vote in significant numbers. In 
        response Southern legislatures often adopted new 
        electoral procedures designed to dilute the growing 
        minority voting strength, drawing on the experience of 
        jurisdictions which had already adopted these 
        mechanisms before 1965. Use of at-large elections--
        requiring candidates to run city-wide or county-wide 
        rather than from smaller districts or wards--was the 
        cornerstone of the vote dilution structure, along with 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        the use of multi-member legislative districts.

          The evidence before Congress when reauthorizing 
        Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in 2006 included 
        data from a study of all the objections interposed by 
        the Department of Justice. Between 1965 and 2000 over 
        80 percent of all objections were to changes that would 
        have diluted minority voting strength and no more than 
        15 percent of the objections addressed changes that 
        would deny or abridge minority voting strength. From 
        2000 through mid-2004, when the study was completed, 
        less than 12 percent of the changes involved denial or 
        abridgement, while 88 percent addressed problems of 
        vote dilution.

    In addition, Professor J. Morgan Kousser presented 
compelling and persuasive testimony regarding the need for a 
preclearance requirement particularly in the formerly covered 
jurisdictions. Professor Kousser noted that as Congress 
approached the 25-year renewal deadline of Section 5 in 2006, 
the need to satisfy the Boerne ``congruence and 
proportionality'' standard spurred Section 5 proponents to 
compile an extensive factual record of ongoing voting 
discrimination, but that the record may not have been 
persuasive to the Court because ``it was not consolidated into 
one report, quantified to determine how `congruent' the 
geographical scope of Section 4 was with the geographical 
incidence of voting discrimination.''\302\ In addition, the 
Court in Shelby County viewed the ``fundamental problem'' as 
Congress's failure in 2006 to update its coverage formula based 
on the record that it compiled.\303\ The Court accordingly did 
not pass judgment on whether the kind of record assembled by 
Congress could support a revised coverage formula that has a 
sufficiently ``logical relation'' to current and recent 
evidence of discrimination.\304\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \302\See VRA Legislation Hearing (statement of Professor J. Morgan 
Kousser, Cal. Inst. of Tech. at 4-5) [hereinafter ``Kousser 
Statement''].
    \303\Shelby Cty., 570 U.S. at 554.
    \304\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In the wake of the Northwest Austin case, Professor Kousser 
began to create a database of all voting rights actions under 
any federal or State statutes or constitutional provisions, 
including lawsuits, settlements and consent decrees, objections 
interposed by DOJ under Section 5, and requests by DOJ for more 
information under Section 5. This database includes 4,090 
minority victories under federal law and 389 under the 
California Voting Rights Act from 1957 through 2019.\305\ His 
analysis of the database resulted in four principal points: (1) 
the original coverage scheme of Section 4(b), as amended in 
1975 and 1970, fit the pattern of proven violations of voting 
rights extraordinarily well--92 percent of the total actions in 
which minorities were successful concerned State and local 
jurisdictions within the areas of Section 4(b) coverage; (2) 
voting rights violations did not diminish over long periods of 
time--there were more than three times as many in the 25 years 
after the 1982 renewal of the VRA than there were in the 25 
years from 1957 to 1982, and over 90 percent continued be 
concentrated in covered jurisdictions; (3) the pattern of 
voting rights actions is less the product of the degree of 
discrimination than of the opportunities of litigation and 
administrative action made available by congressional and 
especially by Supreme Court decisions; and (4) the striking 
success of minorities in using the State-level California 
Voting Rights Act to shift from at-large elections to single 
member districts reinforces the third point about the pattern 
of voting rights actions.\306\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \305\See Kousser Statement at 1.
    \306\See id. at 1-2.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Professor Kousser analyzed whether the Section 4(b) 
coverage formula was a congruent means to combat the injury it 
aimed to prevent or remedy, i.e., whether the pattern of VRA 
actions fit the Section 4(b) coverage scheme.\307\ As shown in 
the table below, out of 3,771 of the 4,090 total successful 
voting rights actions for the period between 1957 and 2019, 
these actions concerned areas that were covered under Section 
4(b) of the VRA. In other words, approximately 92 percent of 
the total voting actions in which minorities were successful 
concerned State or local jurisdictions within the area of 
Section 4(b) coverage.\308\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \307\See id. at 4-5, 7-10.
    \308\Id. at 7.

         TABLE 1.--THE TEMPORAL AND GEOGRAPHICAL PATTERN OF SUCCESSFUL VOTING RIGHTS ACTIONS, 1957-2019
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                          Total #
                         Topic                                Years          of      # in Covered   % in Covered
                                                                          Actions   Jurisdictions  Jurisdictions
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total # of actions.....................................       1957-2019      4,090        3,771           92.2
                                                              1957-1981        819          798           97.4
                                                              1982-2006      3,059        2,825           92.4
                                                              2007-2019        187          130           69.5
                                                              1957-1965         84           83           98.8
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition, Kousser noted that the number of actions more 
than tripled in the time period from the renewal of the VRA in 
1982 through the most recent reauthorization in 2006 (3,059 
total actions), as compared to the period before enactment of 
the modern federal voting rights law in 1957 through the 1982 
VRA renewal (819 total actions).\309\ Additionally, comparing 
the number of actions after 2006 through 2019 with the number 
between 1957 and the passage of the VRA in 1965, a period in 
which, according to the Court, voting discrimination was 
``pervasive . . . flagrant . . . widespread . . . rampant,'' 
Professor Kousser found more cases per annum in the latter than 
in the earlier years (15.5 cases per year for 2007-19 vs. 10.5 
per year for 1957-65).\310\ He also found that more than two-
thirds of the voting rights actions after 2006, the time of the 
most recent reauthorization of the VRA, were concentrated in 
covered jurisdictions.\311\ He observed that based on the data, 
``if Congress had started from scratch in 2006, it could hardly 
have developed a more accurate coverage scheme than it 
did.''\312\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \309\See VRA Legislation Hearing (Kousser Statement at 7).
    \310\Id. at 8.
    \311\Id.
    \312\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In addition, Professor Kousser analyzed voting rights 
actions excluding actions involving Section 5 and found that 
five out of six successful non-Section 5 actions originated in 
covered jurisdictions:\313\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \313\Id.

 TABLE 2.--OTHER POSSIBLE EXPLANATIONS OF THE CONGRUENCE OF THE PRE-SHELBY CONGRUENCE OF THE COVERAGE SCHEME AND
                                              VOTING RIGHTS ACTIONS
                                        A. Cases Not Involving Section 5
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                          Total #
                         Topic                                Years          of      # in Covered   % in Covered
                                                                          Actions   Jurisdictions  Jurisdictions
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
# Actions under Section 2..............................       1965-2019      1,291        1,066           82.6
# Actions under Section 2, Sections 203 or 208,               1965-2019      1,605        1,312           81.7
 Fourteenth or Fifteenth Amendments....................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Furthermore, Professor Kousser found that the pattern is 
not the result of a concentration of minorities (i.e., where 
minorities resided) in covered jurisdictions.\314\ Controlling 
for the minority percentage in population, the covered 
jurisdictions were six to 12 times as likely to develop cases 
as compared to non-covered jurisdictions as shown in Table 2B 
below.\315\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \314\See Kousser Statement at 9.
    \315\Id.

          B. Counties with Different Proportions of Minorities
------------------------------------------------------------------------
% Non-Hispanic White Citizen    Covered Counties    Non-Covered Counties
    Voting Age Population    -------------------------------------------
        (CVAP), 2010              %                     %
-----------------------------  Counties      #       Counties      #
                                 with     Minority     with     Minority
                               Minority  Successes   Minority  Successes
                              Successes             Successes
------------------------------------------------------------------------
>80% Non-Hispanic White.....       36.0        283        6.2         44
<=80% Non-Hispanic White....       80.9      3,236       11.9        276
------------------------------------------------------------------------
From a slightly older version of this database.

    Professor Kousser observed that in counties with a higher 
number of white voters--specifically, those in which non-
Hispanic white Americans exceeded 80 percent of the citizen 
voting age population (CVAP)--the proportion of counties with 
at least one successful voting rights action was six times as 
high in the covered counties as in the non-covered counties (36 
percent compared to 6.2 percent) and 6.4 times as many actions 
originated in covered as in non-covered heavily white counties 
(283 compared to 44).\316\ Professor Kousser also determined 
that the contrast is even more striking in the counties with a 
lower number of white voters, where there were 6.8 times as 
many successful actions in covered as in non-covered counties 
(80 percent vs. 11.9 percent), and 11.7 times as many total 
actions (3,236 compared to 276) in covered as in non-covered 
jurisdictions.\317\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \316\See Kousser Statement at 9.
    \317\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In drawing his conclusion about the pattern of 
discrimination in the formerly covered jurisdictions, Professor 
Kousser testified that the data demonstrates that the coverage 
formula in Section 4(b) was tailored to target the most 
problematic jurisdictions for minority voters:

          Since litigation can be brought under those 
        provisions against jurisdictions throughout the 
        country, the pattern in this table makes it even 
        clearer that voting discrimination has been centered in 
        those areas covered under Section 4. This is especially 
        true because some Section 2 cases in covered 
        jurisdictions didn't have to be filed, because Section 
        5 had already either deterred discrimination or been 
        settled by objections under Section 5. The 82% 
        concentration of Section 2 cases in covered 
        jurisdictions therefore is no doubt an underestimate of 
        the concentration of discrimination there.\318\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \318\Kousser Statement at 8.

    In addition, Professor Kousser's voting rights events map 
illustrates the contrast between covered and non-covered 
jurisdictions with regard to the number of voting rights 
actions in the 3,143 counties or county-equivalents in the 
United States. In 2,393 counties or county-equivalents (i.e., 
76 percent), there were no voting rights actions at all. As 
indicated by the skyscrapers (indicating multiple actions), the 
voting rights actions are concentrated in the southern states 
that were initially covered in the original 1965 VRA, and in 
Texas and Arizona, which became covered states in the 1975 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
amendments.

              [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


    Based on this and other evidence gathered throughout the 
Judiciary Committee's consideration of H.R. 4, the Judiciary 
Committee finds that in the absence of Section 5, efforts to 
discriminate against minority voters persist and evolve 
particularly in the formerly covered states. As such, there is 
a need for the protection of voting rights of minority voters 
and the reestablishment of the preclearance regime. As 
discussed further below, H.R. 4's revised coverage formula 
reflects this recent and ongoing evidence of voting 
discrimination.

C. The Record Bolsters Congress's Constitutional Authority to Adopt a 
        New Coverage Formula and Related Measures

    As outlined above, Congress has broad authority under the 
Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to prohibit and 
affirmatively prevent voting discrimination against racial and 
language minorities.\319\ Congress also has plenary authority 
to enact legislation regulating ``[t]he times, places and 
manner of holding elections for Senators and 
Representatives.''\320\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \319\See Katzenbach, 383 U.S. at 325-27 (discussing Congress's 
enforcement powers under the Fifteenth Amendment); Morgan, 384 U.S. at 
648-51 (same, with respect to Fourteenth Amendment).
    \320\U.S. Const., art. I Sec. 4 cl. 1.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The foregoing establishes a substantial record of ongoing 
discrimination, particularly in formerly covered jurisdictions 
and in recent years during which the Court rendered the VRA's 
preclearance mechanism inapplicable. In light of that record, 
the Judiciary Committee concludes it is necessary to restore a 
preclearance process in those jurisdictions where voting 
discrimination has been substantial and persistent. 
Furthermore, the Judiciary Committee concludes it is necessary 
to apply a preclearance mechanism with respect to particular 
voting practices that are most likely to result in 
unconstitutional discrimination. The Judiciary Committee also 
concludes that other, related measures discussed below are 
needed to effectuate this legislation.
    The Judiciary Committee does not reach these determinations 
lightly. The Supreme Court has made clear that the VRA 
``imposes current burdens and must be justified by current 
needs,'' and that any preclearance coverage formula must be 
``sufficiently related to the problem that it targets.''\321\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \321\Shelby Cty., 570 U.S. at 542 (quoting Northwest Austin, 557 
U.S. at 203).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Nevertheless, although the Court invalidated Section 4(b)'s 
coverage formula in Shelby County, it ``issue[d] no holding on 
[Section] 5 itself.''\322\ Rather, the Court indicated that 
Congress could ``draft another formula based on current 
conditions.''\323\ Furthermore, the Court cited Katzenbach 
approvingly throughout its opinion. Although it disagreed with 
the Justice Department's interpretation of Katzenbach, it in no 
way purported to overrule that decision. For example, in 
explaining the showing needed to defend Section 4(b)'s coverage 
formula, the Court noted that ``Katzenbach reasoned that the 
coverage formula was rational because the `formula . . . was 
relevant to the problem''' that the VRA sought to address.\324\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \322\Id. at 557.
    \323\Id.
    \324\Id. at 551-52 (quoting Katzenbach, 383 U.S. at 329).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As such, Shelby County ``leaves open substantial room for 
Congress to establish new criteria'' for a coverage 
formula.\325\ Shelby County requires that any such formula must 
be ```relevant to the problem''' that Congress is targeting and 
based on ``facts having [a] logical relation to the present 
day.''\326\ Beyond that, the Court did not state any particular 
requirements for a new formula. Accordingly, the Judiciary 
Committee has carefully tailored the proposed legislation to 
address specific and contemporary practices that deny or 
abridge the right to vote on the basis of race or language 
minority status. Furthermore, nothing about the Court's opinion 
in Shelby County cast doubt on Congress's ability to enact 
other measures to prevent voting discrimination that are less 
burdensome than a preclearance requirement.\327\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \325\Adegbile Testimony at 4.
    \326\Shelby Cty., 570 U.S. at 551 (quoting Katzenbach, 383 U.S. at 
329); see id. at 556 (criticizing the 2006 coverage formula because it 
was ``based on 40-year-old facts having no logical relation to the 
present day.'').
    \327\See id. at 537 (noting Section 2 of VRA was ``not at issue in 
this case.'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Finally, the Committee notes that while the record compiled 
by the three Subcommittees establishes the continuing 
pervasiveness of a variety of barriers to voting in certain 
jurisdictions, H.R. 4 does not expressly list all of them as 
bases for triggering the preclearance requirement in its 
``covered practices'' provision. While Congress's 
constitutional authority is broad enough to support including 
all of these barriers as bases for requiring preclearance, 
Congress here chooses to exercise its discretion and restraint 
by limiting the scope of that provision to those practices 
listed in the bill. The Committee notes that while these 
barriers are not expressly listed as bases for practice-based 
preclearance, they may still constitute violations of the VRA 
in specific cases, and the Committee expects the DOJ and others 
to pursue jurisdictions engaged in such violations. In 
addition, Congress will continue to monitor developments as to 
those barriers not expressly covered by the bill to determine 
whether it is necessary to amend the VRA in the future.
            1. The Continuing Need for Preclearance
    The Judiciary Committee concludes that a tailored 
preclearance provision is necessary to address the significant 
and pervasive voting discrimination described above. The 
Judiciary Committee heard evidence of a ``resurgence of 
discriminatory voting practices, many motivated by intentional 
discrimination,'' and that ``this discrimination has been most 
intense in the very jurisdictions that were once covered by 
Section 5.''\328\ Professor Kousser's analysis, in particular, 
demonstrates that discriminatory measures have been heavily 
concentrated in specific jurisdictions.\329\ That heavy 
concentration warrants ```disparate geographic coverage''' for 
preclearance.\330\ Indeed, a preclearance remedy that failed to 
tailor coverage in jurisdictions where discriminatory measures 
have occurred with the highest frequency could create precisely 
the types of unjustifiable burdens that the Court described in 
Shelby County. The evidence of discriminatory practices that 
have emerged in previously covered jurisdictions subsequent to 
the Court's holding in Shelby County is particularly 
persuasive. The Court in Katzenbach found it compelling that 
other statutory remedies enacted up to that point had failed to 
stop patterns of abuses. So too here, the evidence demonstrates 
that even where plaintiffs facing discrimination have succeeded 
in litigation under Section 2 of the VRA, that success has come 
at a great price and often only after substantial harms have 
ensued.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \328\Clarke Shelby Statement at 2.
    \329\Kousser Statement at 7-9.
    \330\Shelby Cty., 570 U.S. at 542 (quoting Northwest Austin, 557 
U.S. at 203).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As one scholar explained, after-the-fact litigation results 
all too often in ``justice delayed.''\331\ In North Carolina, 
for example, the legislature decided to move forward with a 
draconian voter ID bill the day after Shelby County was 
decided.\332\ The bill was signed into law in August 2013 and 
was immediately challenged in court. Nevertheless, the law was 
in operation during the 2014 midterm primaries and 
elections.\333\ It was only in mid-2016--following a series of 
delays--that the law was struck down following a jury trial. 
The court held that the law ``target[ed] African Americans with 
almost surgical precision,''\334\ but because of those delays, 
voters in North Carolina were subject to an intentionally 
discriminatory measure during an election cycle.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \331\Levitt Testimony at 9.
    \332\Id. at 10.
    \333\Id.
    \334\N.C. State Conf. of the NAACP v. McCrory, 831 F.3d 204, 214 
(4th Cir. 2016).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A similar scenario unfolded in Texas. One practitioner 
explained that the NAACP ``successfully challenged Texas' voter 
ID law,'' with the trial court holding that the law was 
discriminatory in both purpose and effect.\335\ The United 
States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit agreed that the 
law was discriminatory at least in effect. As that witness 
explained, however, ``during the 3 years in which we litigated 
the case through trial, and before voters received relief, 
Texas elected a U.S. Senator, all 36 members of the Texas 
delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives, a Governor, a 
Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, all 150 
Members of the State house, over 175 trial court judges, and 
over 75 District Attorneys. Relief simply was too late for 
voters across all of those elections.''\336\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \335\Shelby Anniversary Hearing, Unofficial Tr. 33 (Aden 
Testimony).
    \336\Id. at 33-34; see also Levitt Testimony at 11.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Another practitioner noted more generally that ``because 
elections take place during the time that Section 2 litigation 
is pending, government officials are often elected under 
election[] regimes that are later found to be discriminatory--
and there is no way to adequately compensate the victims of 
voting discrimination after-the-fact.''\337\ This practitioner 
noted that in the ten successful Section 2 cases brought by the 
ACLU, ``more than a dozen elections were held between the time 
of the filing our case and the ultimate resolution of that 
case. In the interim, more than 350 federal, State, and local 
government officials were elected under regimes that were later 
found by a court to be racially discriminatory, or which were 
later abandoned by the jurisdiction.''\338\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \337\Ho Testimony at 12.
    \338\Id.; see also id. Appx. A (spreadsheet listing elections that 
were held during the course of litigation). Mr. Ho noted that this was 
a conservative estimate because it did not include local elections. Id. 
at 12 & n.43.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sean Young of the ACLU of Georgia likewise stressed the 
critical need for preclearance and explained that Section 2 
litigation is not an adequate remedy on its own.\339\ For 
example, he explained that after the Shelby County decision, 
the Georgia General Assembly put a plan in place that resulted 
in a decrease of African American board members from 67 percent 
to 28 percent on the Sumter County Board of Education.\340\ 
Ultimately, a court struck down the plan as discriminatory 
under Section 2 of the VRA. But Mr. Young noted that the 
litigation lasted five years and cost ``hundreds if not 
thousands of attorney hours, and thousands of dollars in expert 
fees,'' and resulted in five years of ``discriminatory 
elections taking place over and over'' during which ``African 
American school children and their parents did not have their 
interests adequately represented the board.''\341\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \339\See Subcommittee on Elections Report at 81 (citing testimony 
of Sean Young).
    \340\Id.
    \341\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In addition to the time consuming aspect of litigation, 
other witnesses noted the extraordinarily high costs of 
bringing such challenges, which could run up to several million 
dollars.\342\ For example, witnesses who appeared before the 
Subcommittee for Elections noted that costs for a Section 2 
case can range from hundreds of thousands of dollars to $10 
million.\343\ Moreover, one witness testified that these costs 
are particularly burdensome for Native American tribes, which 
have limited resources to spend on attorney's fees.\344\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \342\See Saenz History Statement.
    \343\See Subcommittee on Elections Report at 79-83.
    \344\Id. at 89.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Accordingly--as Congress concluded when it first adopted 
the preclearance provision in the VRA--the Judiciary Committee 
concludes that Congress should ``shift the advantage of time 
and inertia'' away from States and subdivisions that have 
persistently engaged in discriminatory practices.\345\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \345\Katzenbach, 383 U.S. at 328.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
            2. The Need to Update and Clarify Certain Temporary and 
                    Permanent Provisions of the VRA
                a. Coverage Formula
    Section 3 of H.R. 4 contains a new coverage provision 
intended to meet the requirements set out in Shelby County. 
First, a State as a whole would be covered if during the past 
25 years (1) 15 or more voting rights violations occurred 
within the State; or (2) 10 or more voting rights violations 
occurred within the State, at least one of which was committed 
by the State itself. Second, a political subdivision would be 
covered if three or more voting rights violations occurred in 
that subdivision during the past 25 years. If those criteria 
are met, a State or subdivision would remain covered for ten 
years.
    The legislation defines several types of events or 
incidents as ``voting rights violations.'' The definition 
includes: (A) a final judgment by a court that a State or 
subdivision engaged in voting discrimination in violation of 
the Fourteenth or Fifteenth Amendment; (B) a final judgment by 
a court that a State or subdivision engaged in voting 
discrimination in violation of Section 2 or Section 203 of the 
VRA; (C) a final judgment by a court denying a State or 
subdivision's lawsuit seeking to obtain preclearance (i.e., a 
determination by a court that a proposed change in voting 
procedures by a covered jurisdiction cannot go forward); (D) an 
objection by DOJ blocking a covered jurisdiction from moving 
forward with a proposed change in voting procedures, where the 
objection has not been withdrawn or overturned by the final 
judgment of a court; or (E) a settlement or consent decree that 
results in a State or subdivision abandoning or altering a 
proposed change to its voting procedures, where a challenge to 
the proposed change contended that the change violated the VRA 
or the Fourteenth or Fifteenth Amendment.
    This coverage formula cures the primary defect identified 
in Shelby County: it depends upon recent information, rather 
than ``decades-old data and eradicated practices.''\346\ It 
``creates a dynamic standard, based on each jurisdiction's 
recent history, whereby geographic coverage will adjust by 
moving the temporal window of triggering violations 
forward.''\347\ To the extent this revised coverage formula 
encompasses many of the same jurisdictions that were subject to 
coverage under Section 4(b), that overlap is a result of those 
jurisdictions' persistence in enacting discriminatory measures, 
as documented above.\348\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \346\Shelby Cty., 570 U.S. at 551.
    \347\Adegbile Testimony at 5.
    \348\See Kousser Statement at 7-9; see also Sonia Gill, The Case 
for Restoring and Updating the Voting Rights Act, Am. Civil Liberties 
Union at 32 (2019).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The formula encompasses events or circumstances that 
occurred up to 25 years prior, a ``lookback period'' that the 
Judiciary Committee assesses is needed to identify (as 
Katzenbach described) ``voting discrimination where it persists 
on a pervasive scale.''\349\ As one practitioner observed:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \349\Katzenbach, 383 U.S. at 308.

          [T]he 25-year lookback is an especially important 
        provision because a shorter period might not be a broad 
        enough window to indicate whether or not voting rights 
        violations have been pervasive under Katzenbach, 
        especially given the nature of elections, which are 
        cyclical and occur every two or four years. That is all 
        the more true because election changes tend to happen 
        around the census and redistricting, which occur once a 
        decade.\350\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \350\Adegbile Testimony at 25.

    By aggregating repeated instances of voting discrimination 
over a reasonably significant period of time, the coverage 
formula more reliably identifies jurisdictions in need of 
preclearance than would a formula based on relatively few 
instances occurring in a more recent timeframe. As one scholar 
put it, the formula ``seeks to identify recidivists for whom 
more potent medicine may be necessary, based on facts rather 
than assumptions.''\351\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \351\Levitt Testimony at 28.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Additionally, the types of findings or circumstances 
constituting a ``voting rights violation'' for purposes of the 
coverage formula are reasonably related to findings of 
unconstitutional practices. Even assuming the Fifteenth 
Amendment prohibits only voting practices that are 
intentionally discriminatory, the Supreme Court has repeatedly 
held that Congress's enforcement authority extends well beyond 
the power to prohibit practices that the Amendment already 
makes unlawful.\352\ As discussed earlier, in City of Rome, the 
Court upheld a provision of Section 5 that allowed preclearance 
to be granted only if a proposed voting change did not have a 
discriminatory purpose and would not have a discriminatory 
effect. The Court explained that Congress may ``prohibit state 
action that, though itself not violative of [the Fifteenth 
Amendment], perpetuates the effects of past 
discrimination.''\353\ And the Court found ``no reason . . . to 
disturb Congress' considered judgment that banning electoral 
changes that have a discriminatory impact is an effective 
method of preventing States from `undoing or defeating the 
rights recently won by''' African American voters.\354\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \352\See, e.g., City of Rome, 446 U.S. at 173-75; Katzenbach, 383 
U.S. at 325-27; see also Levitt Testimony at 23-25.
    \353\City of Rome, 446 U.S. at 176.
    \354\Id. at 178 (quoting Beer v. United States, 425 U.S. 130, 140 
(1976)) (internal quotations and brackets omitted).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In this instance, Congress likewise is entitled to 
deference in determining the indicia of voting discrimination 
that may identify unconstitutional behavior by State and local 
jurisdictions or that may identify other practices likely to 
``undo[] or defeat'' recent progress. Provisions (A) and (B), 
as described above, require a final court judgment that a State 
or subdivision has engaged in the kind of voting discrimination 
that Congress plainly has the authority to prohibit. Provision 
(C) likewise requires a court finding that a proposed voting 
change by a State or subdivision was put forward with a 
discriminatory purpose or would have discriminatory impact. 
Although provisions (D) and (E) do not require court findings, 
they address situations where a State or subdivision may have 
attempted to engage in an unlawful practice that is never 
adjudicated by a court because DOJ blocked it from taking 
effect, or because the parties settled. Accordingly, the 
coverage formula ensures that the legislation is ``remedial'' 
under City of Boerne and its progeny.
    Finally, the coverage formula ensures that facts justifying 
coverage for a State or subdivision do not become stale over 
time. Coverage is limited to a ten-year period, at the end of 
which it is reassessed anew. Moreover, States and subdivisions 
would retain the ``bailout'' mechanism built into the VRA. This 
ensures that coverage is ``dynamic and tethered to a recent 
history of serious voting rights violations.''\355\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \355\Adegbile Testimony at 27; see also Levitt Testimony at 29 
(``The overall structure of preclearance in H.R. 4 not only builds in 
reference to current conditions, it builds in breathing room.'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                b. Preclearance Based on Known Practices
    Section 4 of H.R. 4 would also impose a preclearance 
requirement for any jurisdiction seeking to engage in certain 
practices that may be likely to result in discrimination 
against minority groups. These ``covered practices'' include: 
(1) creating or adding ``at-large'' seats for elected offices, 
where the jurisdiction includes racial or language minority 
populations above a certain percent threshold; (2) 
redistricting that reduces the voting-age population of a 
particular racial or language minority group by 3% of more, 
where the jurisdiction includes racial or language minority 
populations above a certain percent threshold; (3) 
redistricting that increases the population of a racial or 
language minority group by 10,000 or by 20% of the voting-age 
population or more; (4) changing requirements for documentation 
or other qualifications needed to cast a vote; (5) reducing or 
altering the provision of multilingual voting materials; and 
(6) reducing or moving voting locations, where the jurisdiction 
includes racial or language minority populations above a 
certain percent threshold.\356\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \356\Practice-Based Preclearance: Protecting Against Tactics 
Persistently Used to Silence Minorities Communities' Votes 42-48 
(2019), https://www.maldef.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Practice-
Based-Preclearance-Report-Nov-2019-FINAL.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Importantly, this form of ``known practices coverage'' 
avoids engaging in the ``disparate treatment of States'' that 
the Court in Shelby County found problematic under the 
principle of equal sovereignty.\357\ It applies equally across 
all jurisdictions, or across all jurisdictions with certain 
percent thresholds of minority populations. Moreover, it does 
not ban any of the covered practices outright--even though the 
Supreme Court has held that Congress can in fact ban practices 
that are thought to correlate with voting discrimination.\358\ 
Given the evidence documented and referenced in this Report, 
the Judiciary Committee has ample grounds to conclude that each 
of these practices creates at least a risk of unconstitutional 
voting discrimination. As such, Congress has authority to 
require an additional layer of scrutiny through preclearance 
before such practices are permitted to go into effect.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \357\Shelby Cty., 570 U.S. at 544.
    \358\See Morgan, 384 U.S. at 649-52; see also Oregon v. Mitchell, 
400 U.S. 112, 150 (1970) (upholding nationwide ban on literacy tests).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                c. Bail-in Preclearance
    Section 2 of H.R. 4 would strengthen the ``bail-in'' 
provision in Section 3(c) of the VRA--which allows courts to 
subject certain jurisdictions to preclearance--by permitting 
courts to bail in jurisdictions where there have been 
violations of the VRA and other federal prohibitions against 
discrimination in voting, in addition to instances where there 
have been violations of the Fourteenth or Fifteenth Amendment. 
Because this provision would apply on a case-by-case basis with 
individual judgments left to the courts, it is inherently 
tailored to the facts on the ground in each jurisdiction.
                d. Notice
    Section 5 of H.R. 4 would require State and local 
jurisdictions to publicize certain types of changes in their 
voting practices and to provide other types of information that 
may be relevant in assessing potential violations of the VRA. 
As one scholar explained, this provision ``aims to provide 
citizens with additional information about the electoral pinch 
points where gathering the data about jeopardy to voting rights 
has proved most problematic in the past: changes at the last 
minute before an election, changes in the polling place 
resources available for a given election, and changes in the 
district lines determining the electorate for a given 
election.''\359\ This type of reporting requirement entails a 
relatively low burden on States and plainly bears a logical 
relation to facilitating Congress's ability to enforce the law.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \359\Levitt Testimony at 31.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                e. Federal Election Observers 
    Section 6 of H.R. 4 would add to the Attorney General's 
authority to assign federal election observers under Section 8 
of the VRA. It would permit DOJ to assign election observers in 
instances where doing so is considered necessary to enforce 
statutory provisions of the VRA (rather than solely to enforce 
the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments). It would also permit 
DOJ to assign election observers for the purpose of enforcing 
bilingual election requirements. Any burden imposed on States 
by this provision is minimal and should not raise the types of 
federalism and sovereignty concerns discussed in Shelby County.
                f. Injunctive Relief
    Lastly, Section 7 of H.R. 4 would empower private parties 
(in addition to DOJ) to file lawsuits for injunctive relief if 
a State or political subdivision is about to engage in a change 
to voting practices that the plaintiff believes will violate 
the VRA. Furthermore, Section 7 would require the court hearing 
the case to grant relief to the plaintiff if the court 
determines that the complaint has raised a ``serious question'' 
regarding the lawfulness of a change in voting practices, and 
if the court determines that the balance of interests and 
hardships favors the plaintiff.
    This standard departs somewhat from the typical standard 
for obtaining a preliminary injunction, under which a plaintiff 
must show that he or she ``is likely to succeed on the merits'' 
and is likely to suffer ``irreparable harm'' absent an 
injunction, and must demonstrate that the overall balance of 
interests tilts in his or her favor.\360\ However, the Supreme 
Court has repeatedly held that Congress may alter common-law 
standards for seeking equitable relief so long as the 
``alternative comports with constitutional due process,'' 
particularly in cases presenting issues of public 
interest.\361\ As one scholar has explained, ``the cost and 
difficulty of amassing evidence and expertise sufficient to 
secure timely preliminary relief in a voting case often remains 
greater than in most other contexts, the clock often remains 
shorter, and the damage of a discriminatory election remains 
irreparable.''\362\ As such, ``[i]t is rational . . . to 
establish a standard for the granting of preliminary injunctive 
relief designed to address these distinct characteristics in 
election cases.''\363\ The Judiciary Committee assesses that 
such a standard is not only ``rational'' but may be critical to 
ensuring that elections are not conducted under voting 
procedures that are ultimately held to be unlawful and 
discriminatory.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \360\ See, e.g., Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 
U.S. 7, 20 (2008).
    \361\ Levitt Testimony at 29 (citing, inter alia, Yakus v. United 
States, 321 U.S. 414, 441-42 (1944); United States v. Oakland Cannabis 
Buyers' Coop., 532 U.S. 483, 496-97 (2001); see also Porter v. Warner 
Holding Co., 328 U.S. 395, 398 (1946).
    \362\Levitt Testimony at 30; see also also Sonia Gill, The Case for 
Restoring and Updating the Voting Rights Act, Am. Civil Liberties Union 
at 38-49 (2019).
    \363\ Levitt Testimony at 30.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
            3. Additional Congressional Authority Pursuant to the 
                    Elections Clause
    As the foregoing discussion demonstrates, Congress has 
ample authority to adopt H.R. 4 under the Fourteenth and 
Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution. Additionally, 
pursuant to the Elections Clause of the Constitution, Congress 
has authority to pass the proposed legislation insofar as it 
pertains to federal elections for members of Congress. The 
Elections Clause provides: ``The Times, Places and Manner of 
holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be 
prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the 
Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, 
except as to the Places of choosing Senators.''\364\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \364\ U.S. Const., art. I Sec.  4 cl. 1.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Supreme Court has explained that the Elections Clause 
provides Congress ``general supervisory power over the whole 
subject'' of federal elections.\365\ As one scholar explained, 
Congress during Reconstruction relied on this authority in 
enacting certain statutes governing federal elections, and the 
Supreme Court upheld one such statute based on that 
authority.\366\ Much more recently, in a case striking down a 
State law that imposed term limits on members of the House, the 
Court explained that the process for ``electing representatives 
to the National Legislature'' arose as a ``new right'' created 
by ``the Constitution itself.''\367\ As such, federalism 
concerns that may typically arise under the Tenth Amendment 
when Congress displaces the power of the States do not apply in 
the federal elections context. Rather, the Elections Clause is 
a relatively rare instance in which the Constitution delegated 
power to the States to regulate elections and reserved power to 
Congress to change those regulations.\368\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \365\ Ex parte Siebold, 100 U.S. 371, 387 (1879).
    \366\ Congressional Authority Hearing (testimony of Franita Tolson, 
Vice Dean for Faculty and Acad. Affairs and Professor of Law, Univ. of 
S. Cal., Gould School of Law at 6) [hereinafter ``Tolson Testimony''].
    \367\ U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, 514 U.S. 779, 805 (1995).
    \368\ See id. (structure of the Elections Clause ``is consistent 
with our previous recognition that, in certain limited contexts, the 
power to regulate the incidents of the federal system is not a reserved 
power of the States, but rather is delegated by the Constitution''); 
see also Tolson Testimony at 5 (``the Clause is impervious to the 
federalism concerns that have constrained congressional action under 
the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments.'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    By its plain text, the Elections Clause does not require 
that Congress act in furtherance of any particular purpose when 
it regulates federal elections. Thus, Congress's authority is 
not limited to remedying violations of other constitutional 
provisions.\369\ For example, in a decision issued the same 
month as Shelby County, the Supreme Court struck down an 
Arizona law requiring voting registrants to produce evidence of 
citizenship; the Court (in a decision authored by Justice 
Scalia) held that the law was preempted by the National Voter 
Registration Act (NVRA), which was enacted under Congress's 
Elections Clause authority.\370\ The NVRA requires use of a 
uniform federal form to register voters, and the Court 
accordingly held that Arizona could not alter or add to the 
paperwork required to register to vote. The Court observed:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \369\ See Tolson Testimony at 5.
    \370\ Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., 570 U.S. 1, 
20 (2013).

          The Clause's substantive scope is broad. ``Times, 
        Places, and Manner,'' we have written, are 
        ``comprehensive words,'' which ``embrace authority to 
        provide a complete code for congressional elections'' . 
        . . . The power of Congress over the ``Times, Places 
        and Manner'' of congressional elections ``is paramount, 
        and may be exercised at any time, and to any extent 
        which it deems expedient . . . .''\371\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \371\ Id. at 8-9 (quoting Smiley v. Holm, 285 U.S. 355, 366 (1932); 
Siebold, 100 U.S. at 392 (emphasis added)).

    Accordingly, the Elections Clause supplies authority for 
Congress to enact this legislation, including its coverage 
formula and preclearance mechanisms, insofar as the legislation 
affects the ``Times, Places, and Manner'' for electing members 
of Congress. For example, the Clause clearly allows Congress to 
regulate the circumstances in which State or local governments 
move polling places or change early voting practices for 
elections to federal office. The case just described further 
demonstrates that Congress may regulate the manner in which 
States register voters for federal elections, including by 
regulating identification requirements.
    If the legislation were sustained only based on the 
Elections Clause and not based on Congress's enforcement 
authority under the Fourteenth or Fifteenth Amendments, then it 
presumably could no longer apply with respect to purely State 
or local elections. As one scholar noted, however, ``states and 
local governments use many of the same practices in federal 
elections as they do for state and local elections. For 
example, voters are registered simultaneously in federal, 
state, and local elections in most states. Voters also go to 
the same polling place, at the same time, and vote on one 
ballot for federal, state, and local elections in most 
places.''\372\ Thus, as a practical matter, Congress's use of 
its Elections Clause authority may still impact state and local 
election practices.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \372\ Tolson Testimony at 10.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

D. Representative Johnson's Argument Against H.R. 4 is Unavailing

    During the Judiciary Committee markup of H.R. 4, 
Representative Mike Johnson (R-LA) offered an amendment that 
would have added a rule of construction providing that a 
``voting rights violation'' shall only consist of intentional 
discrimination based on race, color, or language-minority 
status. He contended that the Fourteenth and Fifteenth 
Amendments do not grant Congress the authority to adopt 
measures beyond those that remedy intentional voting 
discrimination. According to this view, the VRA's prohibition 
on State and local voting laws that have a discriminatory 
effect on minority voters is constitutionally suspect because 
it is not ``congruent and proportional'' to the harm--despite 
many voting rights cases alleging that a given voting law or 
practice has a discriminatory effect often also present 
evidence of a discriminatory purpose. Instead, Representative 
Johnson contended that the VRA's prohibition on ``neutral'' 
voting laws with a discriminatory effect is a ``substantive'' 
act that goes beyond Congress's power ``to enforce'' the 
guarantees of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendment.
    Representative Johnson's contention is unavailing. To begin 
with, the Supreme Court has not expressly applied the 
``congruence and proportionality test'' to the VRA, despite 
being urged to do so by litigants in Shelby County, and has 
only applied it to non-voting rights cases involving claims 
under the Fourteenth Amendment.
    In any event, the Supreme Court has long made clear that 
Congress has broad constitutional authority to enact 
legislation in order to remedy and root out the grave and 
persistent constitutional harm of voting discrimination. The 
Court has recognized that in response to litigation and other 
efforts, those wishing to discriminate against minority voters 
have relied on less overt methods of voting discrimination, 
implementing voting laws and procedures aimed at diluting 
minority voting strength. Indeed, the Supreme Court expressly 
held in City of Rome that ``even if . . . the [Fifteenth] 
Amendment prohibits only purposeful discrimination, the prior 
decisions of this Court foreclose any argument that Congress 
may not, pursuant to [its enforcement authority], outlaw voting 
practices that are discriminatory in effect.''\373\ If Congress 
has authority to outlaw any changes to voting practices that 
have discriminatory effects, then it is equally within 
Congress's enforcement power to make determinations about 
preclearance coverage based upon whether a State or subdivision 
has repeatedly enacted measures that are found to have unlawful 
discriminatory effects. In addition, a definition of a ``voting 
rights violation'' that is limited to a finding of intentional 
discrimination could exclude a great many instances in which 
courts find discriminatory effects but do not adjudicate--
because they do not need to--whether intentional discrimination 
has occurred.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \373\ 446 U.S. at 173 (emphasis added).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                Hearings

    For the purposes of section 103(i) of H. Res. 6 of the 
116th Congress, the following hearings were used to consider 
H.R. 4:
           H.R. 1, the ``For the People Act of 2019,'' 
        House Committee on the Judiciary, January 29, 2019
            ``History and Enforcement of the Voting 
        Rights Act of 1965,'' Subcommittee on the Constitution, 
        Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, House Committee on 
        the Judiciary, March 12, 2019
           ``Enforcement of the Voting Rights Act in 
        the State of Texas,'' Subcommittee on the Constitution, 
        Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, House Committee on 
        the Judiciary, May 3, 2019
           ``Continuing Challenges to the Voting Rights 
        Act Since Shelby County v. Holder,'' Subcommittee on 
        the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, 
        House Committee on the Judiciary, June 25, 2019
           ``Discriminatory Barriers to Voting,'' 
        Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and 
        Civil Liberties, House Committee on the Judiciary, 
        September 5, 2019
           ``Evidence of Current and Ongoing Voting 
        Discrimination,'' Subcommittee on the Constitution, 
        Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, House Committee on 
        the Judiciary, September 10, 2019
           ``Congressional Authority to Protect Voting 
        Rights After Shelby County v. Holder,'' Subcommittee on 
        the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, 
        House Committee on the Judiciary, September 24, 2019
           ``Legislative Proposals to Strengthen the 
        Voting Rights Act,'' Subcommittee on the Constitution, 
        Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, House Committee on 
        the Judiciary, October 17, 2019
    In addition, the Judiciary Committee considered the record 
compiled over the course of several hearings before other 
committees. Specifically, the Judiciary Committee considered 
testimony and other evidence presented to the Subcommittee on 
Elections of the Committee on House Administration at hearings 
on voting rights and election administration in America, seven 
field hearings in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North 
Carolina, North Dakota, and Ohio, and a listening session in 
Texas, as well as to the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil 
Liberties of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in a 
hearing on protecting the right to vote.

                        Committee Consideration

    On October 23, 2019, the Judiciary Committee met in open 
session and ordered the bill, H.R. 4, favorably reported as an 
amendment in the nature of a substitute, by a rollcall vote of 
19 to 6, a quorum being present.

                            Committee Votes

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Judiciary Committee advises 
that the following rollcall votes occurred during the Judiciary 
Committee's consideration of H.R. 4:
    1. An amendment by Mr. Johnson (LA) to add a rule of 
construction providing that the act and any amendment made by 
it that a voting rights violation shall consist only of 
intentional discrimination that occurs on the basis of race, 
color, or membership in a language minority group was defeated 
by a rollcall vote of 6 to 18.

              [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


    2. Motion to report H.R. 4, as amended, favorably was 
agreed to by a vote of 19 to 6.

              [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Judiciary Committee 
advises that the findings and recommendations of the Judiciary 
Committee, based on oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) 
of rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives, are 
incorporated in the descriptive portions of this report.

  New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures and Congressional Budget 
                          Office Cost Estimate

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect 
to requirements of clause (3)(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives and section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Judiciary Committee has 
requested but not received a formal cost estimate for this bill 
from the Director of Congressional Budget Office. The Judiciary 
Committee has requested but not received from the Director of 
the Congressional Budget Office a formal statement as to 
whether this bill contains any new budget authority, spending 
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in 
revenues or tax expenditures.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    No provision of H.R. 4 establishes or reauthorizes a 
program of the federal government known to be duplicative of 
another federal program, a program that was included in any 
report from the Government Accountability Office to Congress 
pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program 
related to a program identified in the most recent Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    The Judiciary Committee states that pursuant to clause 
3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, H.R. 4 would amend the Voting Rights Act of 
1965 to establish a new coverage formula to determine which 
states would be subject to the Act's preclearance requirements 
and also expands other existing enforcement mechanisms in the 
Act.

                          Advisory on Earmarks

    In accordance with clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, H.R. 4 does not contain any 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff 
benefits as defined in clause 9(d), 9(e), or 9(f) of rule XXI.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    Section 1. Short Title. Section 1 sets forth the short 
title of the bill as the ``Voting Rights Advancement Act of 
2019'' (``VRAA'').
    Section 2. Violations Triggering Authority of Court to 
Retain Jurisdiction. Section 2(a) amends Section 3(c) of the 
Voting Rights Act of 1965 (the ``VRA''). Section 3(c) of the 
VRA, known as the ``bail-in'' provision, currently allows 
courts to retain jurisdiction to supervise further voting 
changes in jurisdictions where the court has found violations 
of the Fourteenth or Fifteenth Amendments. If a jurisdiction is 
``bailed in,'' it must submit any changes to its voting 
procedures for approval either to a U.S. district court or to 
the Attorney General. Section 2(a) strikes ``violations of the 
Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendment'' and inserts ``violations 
of the Fourteenth or Fifteenth Amendments, violations of this 
Act, or violations of any Federal law that prohibits 
discrimination in voting on the basis of race, color, or 
membership in a language minority group.'' By amending this 
language, Section 2(a) strengthens the ``bail-in'' provision by 
permitting courts to bail in jurisdictions where there have 
been violations of the VRA and other federal prohibitions 
against discrimination in voting, in addition to instances 
where there have been violations of the Fourteenth or Fifteenth 
Amendments.
    Section 2(b) of the bill makes technical and conforming 
amendments to Section 3(a) of the VRA.
    Section 3. Criteria for Coverage of States and Political 
Subdivisions. Section 3(a)(1) of the bill amends Section 4(b) 
of the VRA by inserting a new coverage formula intended to meet 
the requirements set out in Shelby County. Formerly, Section 
4(b) provided the coverage formula for determining which 
jurisdictions were subject to the Section 5 preclearance 
requirement. The coverage formula was triggered if a state or 
political subdivision, as of various points in the 1960s or 
early 1970s, (1) employed prohibited ``tests or devices'' used 
to limit voting and (2) had fewer than 50 percent voter 
registration or turnout among its voting-age population. In 
Shelby County, the Court held that Section 4(b) was 
unconstitutional because it imposed current burdens that were 
no longer responsive to the current conditions in the voting 
districts in question.
    Under the new coverage formula in Section 3(a)(1), ``a 
State and all political subdivisions within the State'' would 
be covered if, during the previous 25 calendar years, there 
were (1) 15 or more voting rights violations or (2) ten or more 
voting rights violations and at least one violation was 
committed by the state itself, rather than a political 
subdivision (e.g., county, town, school district). In addition, 
Section 3(a)(1) provides that a political subdivision would be 
covered if three or more voting rights violations occurred in 
that subdivision during the past 25 years. Section 3(a)(1) also 
specifies that the 25-year coverage period would be on a 
rolling basis to keep up with current conditions and ends 10 
years after a jurisdiction is covered.
    Section 3(a)(1) provides that if a state or political 
subdivision obtains declaratory judgment and the judgment 
remains in effect, coverage under preclearance shall no longer 
apply unless voting rights violations occur after the issuance 
of a declaratory judgment.
    Section 3(a)(1) defines several types of events or 
incidents as ``voting rights violations.'' The definition 
includes:
          (1) a final judgment by a court that a state or 
        political subdivision engaged in voting discrimination 
        ``on account of race, color, or membership in a 
        language minority group, in violation of the Fourteenth 
        or Fifteenth Amendment'';
          (2) a final judgment by a court that a state or 
        political subdivision engaged in voting discrimination 
        in violation of Section 2 (prohibits any state or 
        political subdivision from enacting any ``voting 
        qualification or prerequisite to voting or standard, 
        practice, or procedure . . . which results in a denial 
        or abridgement of the right of any citizen of the 
        United States to vote on account of race or color,'' or 
        on account of ``member[ship] [in] a language minority 
        group'') or Section 203 (requires that language 
        minorities receive voting materials, assistance, and 
        information in the language of the applicable minority 
        group) of the VRA;
          (3) a final judgment by a court denying a state or 
        political subdivision's lawsuit seeking to obtain 
        preclearance (i.e., a determination by a court that a 
        proposed change in voting procedures by a covered 
        jurisdiction cannot go forward);
          (4) a denial of preclearance by the Attorney General 
        under Section 3(c) or Section 5 (sets out transparency 
        provisions that will make it more difficult for states 
        and subdivisions to hide problematic voting changes 
        before an election), which prevents a covered 
        jurisdiction from moving forward with a proposed change 
        in voting procedures; or
          (5) a consent decree, settlement, or other agreement 
        which results in the alteration or abandonment of a 
        voting rights practice that had been challenged as 
        discriminatory.
    Section 3(a)(1) sets forth the timing of determinations of 
voting rights violations by the Attorney General and requires 
that the determinations are made ``[a]s early as practicable 
during each calendar year . . . including updating the list of 
voting rights violations occurring in each State and political 
subdivision for the previous calendar year.'' This section also 
provides that the determination or certification of the 
Attorney General shall be effective upon publication in the 
Federal Register.
    Section 3(a)(2) of the bill makes conforming amendments to 
Section 4(a) of the VRA. Section 4(a) provides the mechanism by 
which a covered jurisdiction can ``bail out'' of the 
preclearance requirement. Essentially, a jurisdiction must 
demonstrate to a court that it has not engaged in 
discriminatory practices and has complied with the preclearance 
process in the preceding 10 years.
    Section 3(b) of the bill amends Section 4(a)(1) by striking 
``race or color,'' and inserting ``race, color, or in 
contravention of the guarantees of subsection (f)(2),'' which 
protects the voting rights of a member of a language minority.
    Section 4. Determination of States and Political 
Subdivisions Subject to Preclearance for Covered Practices. 
Section 4 of the bill would add after Section 4 of the VRA a 
new ``Section 4A'' that would provide a new ``practice-based 
preclearance'' formula for known practices that would apply 
nationwide and cover voting law changes that have historically 
been used to discriminate against voters.
    New Section 4A(a)(1) provides that each state and political 
subdivision must identify all new laws, regulations, or 
policies that include voting qualifications or prerequisites to 
voting covered by subsection (b), and ensure that no covered 
practice is implemented unless it has been precleared.
    New Section 4A(a)(2) provides that the Attorney General, in 
consultation with the Director of the Bureau of Census and the 
heads of other governmental offices, must determine as early as 
possible each calendar year the voting-age populations and 
characteristics of those populations, and publish a list of the 
states and subdivisions to which a voting-age population 
characteristic described in the ``Covered Practices'' section. 
Section 4 of the bill sets forth that a ``determination or 
certification of the Attorney General under this paragraph 
shall be effective upon publication in the Federal Register.''
    New Section 4A(b) defines the following as ``covered 
practices'' and includes additional protections for Native 
American voters:
          (1) any change to the method of election to (a) add 
        seats elected at-large or (b) convert one or more seats 
        elected from a single-member district to one or more 
        at-large seats or seats from a multi-member district in 
        a state of subdivision where ``2 or more racial groups 
        or language minority groups each represent 20 percent 
        or more of the political subdivision's voting-age 
        population'' or ``a single language minority group 
        represents 20 percent or more of the voting-age 
        population on Indian lands located in whole or in part 
        in the political subdivision'';
          (2) any change or series of changes within a year to 
        the boundaries of jurisdictions that reduces by 3 or 
        more percentage points the proportion of the 
        jurisdiction's voting-age population that is comprised 
        of members of a single racial group or language 
        minority group in a state or subdivision where ``2 or 
        more racial groups or language minority groups each 
        represent 20 percent or more of the political 
        subdivision's voting-age population'' or ``a single 
        language minority group represents 20 percent or more 
        of the voting-age population on Indian lands located in 
        whole or in part in the political subdivision'';
          (3) any change to redistricting in a state or 
        subdivision where any racial group or language minority 
        group experiences a population increase over the 
        preceding decade of at least 10,000 or 20 percent of 
        voting-age population of the state or subdivision;
          (4) any change to requirements for documentation or 
        proof of identity to vote such that the requirements 
        will exceed or be more stringent than those set out in 
        Section 303(b) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 or 
        such requirements under state law on the day before the 
        date of enactment of the VRAA;
          (5) any change that reduces multilingual voting 
        materials or alters the manner in which such materials 
        are provided or distributed, where no similar reduction 
        or alteration occurs in materials provided in English; 
        or
          (6) any change that reduces, consolidates, or 
        relocates voting locations, including early, absentee, 
        and election-day voting locations: (a) in 1 or more 
        census tracts wherein 2 or more language minority 
        groups or racial groups represent 20 percent or more of 
        the voting-age population of the political subdivision; 
        or (b) on Indian lands wherein at least 20 percent of 
        the voting-age population belongs to a single language 
        minority group.

    New Section 4A(c)(1) sets forth a preclearance process for 
the covered practices described above. A state or political 
subdivision may institute an action in the United States 
District Court for the District of Columbia for a declaratory 
judgment that the covered practice ``neither has the purpose 
nor will have the effect of denying or abridging the right to 
vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language 
minority group.'' The covered practice cannot be implemented 
unless and until the court enters such judgment. A state or 
subdivision can forego pursuing the described court action and 
implement the covered practice if the Attorney General has not 
interposed an objection within 60 days. Section 4A(c)(1) 
provides that the Attorney General or any aggrieved citizen may 
file an action in a U.S. district court to compel any state or 
political subdivision to satisfy the preclearance requirements. 
The court must provide injunctive relief as a remedy unless the 
``voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, 
practice, or procedure with respect to voting'' is not a 
covered practice or the State or political subdivision has 
complied with the preclearance requirements.
    New Section 4A(c)(2) provides that any covered practice 
defined in New Section 4A(b) that has the purpose of effect of 
diminishing the ability of citizens to elect their preferred 
candidates of choice on account of race, color, or language 
minority status is considered a denial or abridgement of the 
right to vote for purposes of this practice-based preclearance 
provision.
    New Section 4A(c)(3) defines ``purpose'' as used in Section 
4A to include any discriminatory purpose.
    New Section 4A(d) grants authority to the Attorney General 
or a private party to file a civil action in federal district 
court to compel any state or locality to comply with this 
section. Such actions are to be heard before a three-judge 
panel. This subsection requires such a court to enjoin the 
challenged voting practice unless the challenged practice is 
not a covered practice the jurisdiction has precleared the 
challenged practice.
    New Section 4A(e) specifies that the calculation of the 
population of a racial or language minority group must be 
carried out using the methodology outlined in regulatory 
guidance. That regulatory guidance governing redistricting 
under Section 5 of the VRA.
    New Section 4A(f) provides that Census Bureau data, whether 
estimates or actual enumerations, cannot be subject to 
challenge or review in court for purposes of any determinations 
under this section.
    New Section 4A(g) defines ``multilingual voting materials'' 
as used in this section to mean ``registration or voting 
notices, forms, instructions, assistance, or other materials or 
information relating to the electoral process, including 
ballots, provided in the language or languages of one or more 
language minority groups.''
    Section 5. Promoting Transparency to Enforce the Voting 
Rights Act. Section 5 adds after Section 5 of the VRA a new 
Section 6. New Section 6 imposes new notice and disclosure by 
states and political subdivisions for three voting-related 
matters, including: (1) late breaking voting changes involving 
federal elections (e.g., changes in voting standards or 
procedures enacted 180 days before a federal election); (2) 
polling resources involving federal elections (e.g., 
information concerning precincts/polling places, number of 
voting age and registered voters, voting machines, and poll 
workers); and (3) redistricting, reapportionment, and other 
changes in voting districts involving federal, state, and local 
elections. Section 5 of the bill also provides that public 
notice for each of these matters must be in a format that is 
accessible to voters with disabilities such as those who have 
low vision or who are blind.
    Section 6. Authority to Assign Observers. Section 6 of the 
bill amends Section 8 of the VRA. Section 8 of the VRA 
currently allows DOJ to assign federal election observers to 
covered jurisdictions where the Attorney General has received 
``meritorious complaints'' from residents, local officials, or 
organizations that voting violations are likely to occur, or 
where the Attorney General determines that assignment of 
observers is ``otherwise necessary'' to enforce the Fourteenth 
or Fifteenth Amendment. These observers must be authorized to 
enter polling places to observe whether people who are entitled 
to vote are being permitted to do so, and to observe the 
processes in which votes are tabulated. Section 6 would give 
the Attorney General authority to assign election observers in 
instances where doing so is considered necessary to enforce 
statutory provisions of the VRA rather than solely to enforce 
the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. It would also permit 
election observers to be assigned for the purpose of enforcing 
bilingual election requirements.
    Section 7. Preliminary Injunctive Relief. Section 7 of the 
bill amends Section 12(d) of the VRA. Section 12(d) currently 
provides that, ``Whenever any person has engaged or there are 
reasonable grounds to believe that any person is about to 
engage in any act or practice prohibited by section 2, 3, 4, 5, 
7, 10, 11, or subsection (b) of this section, the Attorney 
General may institute for the United States, or in the name of 
the United States, an action for preventive relief, including 
an application for a temporary or permanent injunction, 
restraining order, or other order, and including an order 
directed to the State and State or local election officials to 
require them (1) to permit persons listed under this Act to 
vote and (2) to count such votes.''
    Section 7 clarifies the scope and the persons who are 
authorized to seek injunctive relief. Section 7 strikes 
``section 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, or subsection (b) of this 
section'' and inserts ``the Fourteenth or Fifteenth Amendment, 
this Act, or any Federal voting rights law that prohibits 
discrimination on the basis of race, color, or membership in a 
language minority group.'' Section 7 also strikes ``the 
Attorney General may institute for the United States, or in the 
name of the United States,'' and inserts ``the aggrieved person 
or (in the name of the United States) the Attorney General may 
institute'' lawsuits for injunctive relief, thereby empowering 
private parties to file lawsuits for injunctive relief if a 
state or political subdivision is about to engage in a change 
to voting practices that the complainant believes will violate 
the VRA. Furthermore, Section 7 would require the court to 
grant relief to the plaintiff if the court determines that the 
complaint has raised a ``serious question'' regarding the 
lawfulness of a change in voting practices, and if the court 
determines that the balance of interests and hardships favors 
the plaintiff. Typically, a plaintiff seeking a preliminary 
injunction must show that plaintiff ``is likely to succeed on 
the merits''; the plaintiff must also typically show a 
likelihood of suffering ``irreparable harm'' absent an 
injunction, and must demonstrate that the overall balance of 
interests tilts in the plaintiff's favor. This provision would 
therefore bolster the ability of private parties to obtain 
relief in court on an expedited basis, and without having to 
demonstrate conclusively that a change in voting procedures 
will violate the VRA.
    Section 8. Definitions. Section 8 of the bill amends Title 
I of the VRA by clarifying several definitions related to the 
Native American voting population. The defined terms include 
``Indian,'' ``Indian Lands,'' ``Indian Tribe,'' ``Tribal 
Government,'' and ``Voting-Age Population,'' which are referred 
to in amended Section 4 of the VRA.
    Section 9. Attorneys' Fees. Section 9 of the bill adds at 
the end of Section 14(c) of the VRA, which provides definitions 
for the Act's attorneys' fee provision, a definition for 
``prevailing party'' to mean ``a party to an action that 
receives at least some of the benefit sought by such action, 
states a colorable claim, and can establish that the action was 
a significant cause of a change to the status quo.''
    Section 10. Other Technical and Confirming Amendments. 
Section 10 of the bill makes technical and conforming 
amendments to Sections 3(c), 4(f), and 5 of the VRA.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, H.R. 4, as reported, are shown as follows:

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, and existing law in which no 
change is proposed is shown in roman):

                       VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 1965



           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
TITLE I--VOTING RIGHTS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


  Sec. 3. (a) Whenever the Attorney General or an aggrieved 
person institutes a proceeding under any statute to enforce the 
voting guarantees of the fourteenth or fifteenth amendment in 
any State or political subdivision the court shall authorize 
the appointment of Federal observers by the United States Civil 
Service Commission [in accordance with section 6] to serve for 
such period of time and for such political subdivisions as the 
court shall determine is appropriate to enforce the voting 
guarantees of the fourteenth or fifteenth amendment (1) as part 
of any interlocutory order if the court determines that the 
appointment of such observers is necessary to enforce such 
voting guarantees or (2) as part of any final judgment if the 
court finds that [violations of the fourteenth or fifteenth 
amendment] violations of the 14th or 15th Amendment, violations 
of this Act, or violations of any Federal law that prohibits 
discrimination in voting on the basis of race, color, or 
membership in a language minority group, justifying equitable 
relief have occurred in such State or subdivision: Provided, 
That the court need not authorize the appointment of observers 
if any incidents of denial or abridgement of the right to vote 
on account of race or color, or in contravention of the 
guarantees set forth in section 4(f)(2), (1) have been few in 
number and have been promptly and effectively corrected by 
State or local action, (2) the continuing effect of such 
incidents has been eliminated, and (3) there is no reasonable 
probability of their recurrence in the future.
  (b) If in a proceeding instituted by the Attorney General or 
an aggrieved person under any statute to enforce the voting 
guarantees of the fourteenth or fifteenth amendment in any 
State or political subdivision the court finds that a test or 
device has been used for the purpose or with the effect of 
denying or abridging the right of any citizen of the United 
States to vote on account of race or color, or in contravention 
of the guarantees set forth in section 4(f)(2), it shall 
suspend the use of tests and devices in such State or political 
subdivisions as the court shall determine is appropriate and 
for such period as it deems necessary.
  (c) If in [any proceeding instituted by the Attorney General 
or an aggrieved person under any statute to enforce] any action 
under any statute in which a party (including the Attorney 
General) seeks to enforce the voting guarantees of the 
fourteenth or fifteenth amendment in any State or political 
subdivision the court finds that [violations of the fourteenth 
or fifteenth amendment] violations of the 14th or 15th 
Amendment, violations of this Act, or violations of any Federal 
law that prohibits discrimination in voting on the basis of 
race, color, or membership in a language minority group, 
justifying equitable relief have occurred within the territory 
of such State or political subdivision, the court, in addition 
to such relief as it may grant, shall retain jurisdiction for 
such period as it may deem appropriate and during such period 
no voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, 
practice, or procedure with respect to voting different from 
that in force or effect [at the time the proceeding was 
commenced] at the time the action was commenced shall be 
enforced unless and until the court finds that such 
qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure 
does not have the purpose and will not have the effect of 
denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or 
color, or in contravention of the guarantees set forth in 
section 4(f)(2): Provided, That such qualification, 
prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure may be enforced 
if the qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or 
procedure has been submitted by the chief legal officer or 
other appropriate official of such State or subdivision to the 
Attorney General and the Attorney General has not interposed an 
objection within sixty days after such submission, except that 
neither the court's finding nor the Attorney General's failure 
to object shall bar a subsequent action to enjoin enforcement 
of such qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or 
procedure.
  Sec. 4. (a)(1) To assure that the right of citizens of the 
United States to vote is not denied or abridged on account of 
[race or color,] race, color, or in contravention of the 
guarantees of subsection (f)(2), no citizen shall be denied the 
right to vote in any Federal, State, or local election because 
of his failure to comply with any test or device in [any State 
with respect to which the determinations have been made under 
the first two sentences of subsection (b) or in any political 
subdivision of such State (as such subdivision existed on the 
date such determinations were made with respect to such State), 
though such determinations were not made with respect to such 
subdivision as a separate unit, or in any political subdivision 
with respect to which such determinations have been made as a 
separate unit, unless] any State to which this subsection 
applies during a calendar year pursuant to determinations made 
under subsection (b), or in any political subdivision of such 
State (as such subdivision existed on the date such 
determinations were made with respect to such State), though 
such determinations were not made with respect to such 
subdivision as a separate unit, or in any political subdivision 
with respect to which this subsection applies during a calendar 
year pursuant to determinations made with respect to such 
subdivision as a separate unit under subsection (b), unless the 
United States District Court for the District of Columbia 
issues a declaratory judgment under this section. [No citizen 
shall be denied the right to vote in any Federal, State, or 
local election because of his failure to comply with any test 
or device in any State with respect to which the determinations 
have been made under the third sentence of subsection (b) of 
this section or in any political subdivision of such State (as 
such subdivision existed on the date such determinations were 
made with respect to such State), though such determinations 
were not made with respect to such subdivision as a separate 
unit or in any political subdivision with respect to which such 
determinations have been made as a separate unit, unless the 
United States District Court for the District of Columbia 
issues a declaratory judgment under this section.] A 
declaratory judgment under this section shall issue only if 
such court determines that during the ten years preceding the 
filing of the action, and during the pendency of such action--
          (A) no such test or device has been used within such 
        State or political subdivision for the purpose or with 
        the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on 
        account of race or color or [(in the case of a State or 
        subdivision seeking a declaratory judgment under the 
        second sentence of this subsection)] in contravention 
        of the guarantees of subsection (f)(2);
          (B) no final judgment of any court of the United 
        States, other than the denial of declaratory judgment 
        under this section, has determined that denials or 
        abridgements of the right to vote on account of race or 
        color have occurred anywhere in the territory of such 
        State or political subdivision or [(in the case of a 
        State or subdivision seeking a declaratory judgment 
        under the second sentence of this subsection)] that 
        denials or abridgements of the right to vote in 
        contravention of the guarantees of subsection (f)(2) 
        have occurred anywhere in the territory of such State 
        or subdivision and no consent decree, settlement, or 
        agreement has been entered into resulting in any 
        abandonment of a voting practice challenged on such 
        grounds; and no declaratory judgment under this section 
        shall be entered during the pendency of an action 
        commenced before the filing of an action under this 
        section and alleging such denials or abridgements of 
        the right to vote;
          (C) no Federal examiners or observers under this Act 
        have been assigned to such State or political 
        subdivision;
          (D) such State or political subdivision and all 
        governmental units within its territory have complied 
        with section 5 of this Act, including compliance with 
        the requirement that no change covered by section 5 has 
        been enforced without preclearance under section 5, and 
        have repealed all changes covered by section 5 to which 
        the Attorney General has successfully objected or as to 
        which the United States District Court for the District 
        of Columbia has denied a declaratory judgment;
          (E) the Attorney General has not interposed any 
        objection (that has not been overturned by a final 
        judgment of a court) and no declaratory judgment has 
        been denied under section 5, with respect to any 
        submission by or on behalf of the plaintiff or any 
        governmental unit within its territory under section 5, 
        and no such submissions or declaratory judgment actions 
        are pending; and
          (F) such State or political subdivision and all 
        governmental units within its territory--
                  (i) have eliminated voting procedures and 
                methods of election which inhibit or dilute 
                equal access to the electoral process;
                  (ii) have engaged in constructive efforts to 
                eliminate intimidation and harassment of 
                persons exercising rights protected under this 
                Act; and
                  (iii) have engaged in other constructive 
                efforts, such as expanded opportunity for 
                convenient registration and voting for every 
                person of voting age and the appointment of 
                minority persons as election officials 
                throughout the jurisdiction and at all stages 
                of the election and registration process.
  (2) To assist the court in determining whether to issue a 
declaratory judgment under this subsection, the plaintiff shall 
present evidence of minority participation, including evidence 
of the levels of minority group registration and voting, 
changes in such levels over time, and disparities between 
minority-group and non-minority-group participation.
  (3) No declaratory judgment shall issue under this subsection 
with respect to such State or political subdivision if such 
plaintiff and governmental units within its territory have, 
during the period beginning ten years before the date the 
judgment is issued, engaged in violations of any provision of 
the Constitution or laws of the United States or any State or 
political subdivision with respect to discrimination in voting 
on account of race or color or [(in the case of a State or 
subdivision seeking a declaratory judgment under the second 
sentence of this subsection)] in contravention of the 
guarantees of subsection (f)(2) unless the plaintiff 
establishes that any such violations were trivial, were 
promptly corrected, and were not repeated.
  (4) The State or political subdivision bringing such action 
shall publicize the intended commencement and any proposed 
settlement of such action in the media serving such State or 
political subdivision and in appropriate United States post 
offices. Any aggrieved party may as of right intervene at any 
stage in such action.
  (5) An action pursuant to this subsection shall be heard and 
determined by a court of three judges in accordance with the 
provisions of section 2284 of title 28 of the United States 
Code and any appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court. The court 
shall retain jurisdiction of any action pursuant to this 
subsection for ten years after judgment and shall reopen the 
action upon motion of the Attorney General or any aggrieved 
person alleging that conduct has occurred which, had that 
conduct occurred during the ten-year periods referred to in 
this subsection, would have precluded the issuance of a 
declaratory judgment under this subsection. The court, upon 
such reopening, shall vacate the declaratory judgment issued 
under this section if, after the issuance of such declaratory 
judgment, a final judgment against the State or subdivision 
with respect to which such declaratory judgment was issued, or 
against any governmental unit within that State or subdivision, 
determines that denials or abridgements of the right to vote on 
account of race or color have occurred anywhere in the 
territory of such State or political subdivision or [(in the 
case of a State or subdivision which sought a declaratory 
judgment under the second sentence of this subsection)] that 
denials or abridgements of the right to vote in contravention 
of the guarantees of subsection (f)(2) have occurred anywhere 
in the territory of such State or subdivision, or if, after the 
issuance of such declaratory judgment a consent decree, 
settlement, or agreement has been entered into resulting in any 
abandonment of a voting practice challenged on such grounds.
  (6) If, after two years from the date of the filing of a 
declaratory judgment under this subsection, no date has been 
set for a hearing in such action, and that delay has not been 
the result of an avoidable delay on the part of counsel for any 
party, the chief judge of the United States District Court for 
the District of Columbia may request the Judicial Council for 
the Circuit of the District of Columbia to provide the 
necessary judicial resources to expedite any action filed under 
this section. If such resources are unavailable within the 
circuit, the chief judge shall file a certificate of necessity 
in accordance with section 292(d) of title 28 of the United 
States Code.
  [(7) The Congress shall reconsider the provisions of this 
section at the end of the fifteen-year period following the 
effective date of the amendments made by the Fannie Lou Hamer, 
Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, Cesar E. Chavez, Barbara C. 
Jordan, William C. Velasquez, and Dr. Hector P. Garcia Voting 
Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006.
  [(8) The provisions of this section shall expire at the end 
of the twenty-five-year period following the effective date of 
the amendments made by the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, 
Coretta Scott King, Cesar E. Chavez, Barbara C. Jordan, William 
C. Velasquez, and Dr. Hector P. Garcia Voting Rights Act 
Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006.]
  [(9)] (7) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the Attorney 
General from consenting to an entry of judgment if based upon a 
showing of objective and compelling evidence by the plaintiff, 
and upon investigation, he is satisfied that the State or 
political subdivision has complied with the requirements of 
section 4(a)(1). Any aggrieved party may as of right intervene 
at any stage in such action.
  [(b) The provisions of subsection (a) shall apply in any 
State or in any political subdivision of a State which (1) the 
Attorney General determines maintained on November 1, 1964, any 
test or device, and with respect to which (2) the Director of 
the Census determines that less than 50 per centum of the 
persons of voting age residing therein were registered on 
November 1, 1964, or that less than 50 per centum of such 
persons voted in the presidential election of November 1964. On 
and after August 6, 1970, in addition to any State or political 
subdivision of a State determined to be subject to subsection 
(a) pursuant to the previous sentence, the provisions of 
subsection (a) shall apply in any State or any political 
subdivision of a State which (i) the Attorney General 
determines maintained on November 1, 1968, any test or device, 
and with respect to which (ii) the Director of the Census 
determines that less than 50 per centum of the persons of 
voting age residing therein were registered on November 1, 
1968, or that less than 50 per centum of such persons voted in 
the presidential election of November 1968. On and after August 
6, 1975, in addition to any State or political subdivision of a 
State determined to be subject to subsection (a) pursuant to 
the previous two sentences, the provisions of subsection (a) 
shall apply in any State or any political subdivision of a 
State which (i) the Attorney General determines maintained on 
November 1, 1972, any test or device, and with respect to which 
(ii) the Director of the Census determines that less than 50 
per centum of the citizens of voting age were registered on 
November 1, 1972, or that less than 50 per centum of such 
persons voted in the Presidential election of November 1972. A 
determination or certification of the Attorney General or of 
the Director of the Census under this section or under section 
8 or section 13 shall not be reviewable in any court and shall 
be effective upon publication in the Federal Register.]
  (b) Determination of States and Political Subdivisions 
Subject to Requirements.--
          (1) Existence of voting rights violations during 
        previous 25 years.--
                  (A) Statewide application.--Subsection (a) 
                applies with respect to a State and all 
                political subdivisions within the State during 
                a calendar year if--
                          (i) 15 or more voting rights 
                        violations occurred in the State during 
                        the previous 25 calendar years; or
                          (ii) 10 or more voting rights 
                        violations occurred in the State during 
                        the previous 25 calendar years, at 
                        least one of which was committed by the 
                        State itself (as opposed to a political 
                        subdivision within the State).
                  (B) Application to specific political 
                subdivisions.--Subsection (a) applies with 
                respect to a political subdivision as a 
                separate unit during a calendar year if 3 or 
                more voting rights violations occurred in the 
                subdivision during the previous 25 calendar 
                years.
          (2) Period of application.--
                  (A) In general.--Except as provided in 
                subparagraph (B), if, pursuant to paragraph 
                (1), subsection (a) applies with respect to a 
                State or political subdivision during a 
                calendar year, subsection (a) shall apply with 
                respect to such State or political subdivision 
                for the period--
                          (i) that begins on January 1 of the 
                        year in which subsection (a) applies; 
                        and
                          (ii) that ends on the date which is 
                        10 years after the date described in 
                        clause (i).
                  (B) No further application after declaratory 
                judgment.--
                          (i) States.--If a State obtains a 
                        declaratory judgment under subsection 
                        (a), and the judgment remains in 
                        effect, subsection (a) shall no longer 
                        apply to such State pursuant to 
                        paragraph (1)(A) unless, after the 
                        issuance of the declaratory judgment, 
                        paragraph (1)(A) applies to the State 
                        solely on the basis of voting rights 
                        violations occurring after the issuance 
                        of the declaratory judgment.
                          (ii) Political subdivisions.--If a 
                        political subdivision obtains a 
                        declaratory judgment under subsection 
                        (a), and the judgment remains in 
                        effect, subsection (a) shall no longer 
                        apply to such political subdivision 
                        pursuant to paragraph (1), including 
                        pursuant to paragraph (1)(A) (relating 
                        to the statewide application of 
                        subsection (a)), unless, after the 
                        issuance of the declaratory judgment, 
                        paragraph (1)(B) applies to the 
                        political subdivision solely on the 
                        basis of voting rights violations 
                        occurring after the issuance of the 
                        declaratory judgment.
          (3) Determination of voting rights violation.--For 
        purposes of paragraph (1), a voting rights violation 
        occurred in a State or political subdivision if any of 
        the following applies:
                  (A) Final judgment; violation of the 14th or 
                15th amendment.--In a final judgment (which has 
                not been reversed on appeal), any court of the 
                United States has determined that a denial or 
                abridgement of the right of any citizen of the 
                United States to vote on account of race, 
                color, or membership in a language minority 
                group, in violation of the 14th or 15th 
                Amendment, occurred anywhere within the State 
                or subdivision.
                  (B) Final judgment; violations of this act.--
                In a final judgment (which has not been 
                reversed on appeal), any court of the United 
                States has determined that a voting 
                qualification or prerequisite to voting or 
                standard, practice, or procedure with respect 
                to voting was imposed or applied or would have 
                been imposed or applied anywhere within the 
                State or subdivision in a manner that resulted 
                or would have resulted in a denial or 
                abridgement of the right of any citizen of the 
                United States to vote on account of race, 
                color, or membership in a language minority 
                group, in violation of subsection (e) or (f), 
                or section 2 or 203 of this Act.
                  (C) Final judgment; denial of declaratory 
                judgment.--In a final judgment (which has not 
                been reversed on appeal), any court of the 
                United States has denied the request of the 
                State or subdivision for a declaratory judgment 
                under section 3(c) or section 5, and thereby 
                prevented a voting qualification or 
                prerequisite to voting or standard, practice, 
                or procedure with respect to voting from being 
                enforced anywhere within the State or 
                subdivision.
                  (D) Objection by the attorney general.--The 
                Attorney General has interposed an objection 
                under section 3(c) or section 5 (and the 
                objection has not been overturned by a final 
                judgment of a court or withdrawn by the 
                Attorney General), and thereby prevented a 
                voting qualification or prerequisite to voting 
                or standard, practice, or procedure with 
                respect to voting from being enforced anywhere 
                within the State or subdivision.
                  (E) Consent decree, settlement, or other 
                agreement.--A consent decree, settlement, or 
                other agreement was entered into, which 
                resulted in the alteration or abandonment of a 
                voting practice anywhere in the territory of 
                such State that was challenged on the ground 
                that the practice denied or abridged the right 
                of any citizen of the United States to vote on 
                account of race, color, or membership in a 
                language minority group in violation of 
                subsection (e) or (f), or section 2 or 203 of 
                this Act, or the 14th or 15th Amendment.
          (4) Timing of determinations.--
                  (A) Determinations of voting rights 
                violations.--As early as practicable during 
                each calendar year, the Attorney General shall 
                make the determinations required by this 
                subsection, including updating the list of 
                voting rights violations occurring in each 
                State and political subdivision for the 
                previous calendar year.
                  (B) Effective upon publication in federal 
                register.--A determination or certification of 
                the Attorney General under this section or 
                under section 8 or 13 shall be effective upon 
                publication in the Federal Register.
  (c) The phrase ``test or device'' shall mean any requirement 
that a person as a prerequisite for voting or registration for 
voting (1) demonstrate the ability to read, write, understand, 
or interpret any matter, (2) demonstrate any educational 
achievement or his knowledge of any particular subject, (3) 
possess good moral character, or (4) prove his qualifications 
by the voucher of registered voters or members of any other 
class.
  (d) For purposes of this section no State or political 
subdivision shall be determined to have engaged in the use of 
tests or devices for the purpose or with the effect of denying 
or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color, or 
in contravention of the guarantees set forth in section 4(f)(2) 
if (1) incidents of such use have been few in number and have 
been promptly and effectively corrected by State or local 
action, (2) the continuing effect of such incidents has been 
eliminated, and (3) there is no reasonable probability of their 
recurrence in the future.
  (e)(1) Congress hereby declares that to secure the rights 
under the fourteenth amendment of persons educated in American-
flag schools in which the predominant classroom language was 
other than English, it is necessary to prohibit the States from 
conditioning the right to vote of such persons on ability to 
read, write, understand, or interpret any matter in the English 
language.
  (2) No person who demonstrates that he has successfully 
completed the sixth primary grade in a public school in, or a 
private school accredited by, any State or territory, the 
District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in 
which the predominant classroom language was other than 
English, shall be denied the right to vote in any Federal, 
State, or local election because of his inability to read, 
write, understand, or interpret any matter in the English 
language, except that in States in which State law provides 
that a different level of education is presumptive of literacy, 
he shall demonstrate that he has successfully completed an 
equivalent level of education in a public school in, or a 
private school accredited by, any State of territory, the 
District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in 
which the predominant classroom language was other than 
English.
  (f)(1) The Congress finds that voting discrimination against 
citizens of language minorities is pervasive and national in 
scope. [Such minority citizens are from environments in which 
the dominant language is other than English.] In addition they 
have been denied equal educational opportunities by State and 
local governments, resulting in severe disabilities and 
continuing illiteracy in the English language. The Congress 
further finds that, where State and local officials conduct 
elections only in English, language minority citizens are 
excluded from participating in the electoral process. In many 
areas of the country, this exclusion is aggravated by acts of 
physical, economic, and political intimidation. The Congress 
declares that, in order to enforce the guarantees of the 
fourteenth and fifteenth amendments to the United States 
Constitution, it is necessary to eliminate such discrimination 
by prohibiting English-only elections, and by prescribing other 
remedial devices.
  (2) No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or 
standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by 
any State or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right 
of any citizen of the United States to vote because he is a 
member of a language minority group.
  [(3) In addition to the meaning given the term under section 
4(c), the term ``test or device'' shall also mean any practice 
or requirement by which any State or political subdivision 
provided any registration or voting notices, forms, 
instructions, assistance, or other materials or information 
relating to the electoral process, including ballots, only in 
the English language, where the Director of the Census 
determines that more than five per centum of the citizens of 
voting age residing in such State or political subdivision are 
members of a single language minority. With respect to section 
4(b), the term ``test or device'', as defined in this 
subsection, shall be employed only in making the determinations 
under the third sentence of that subsection.
  [(4) Whenever any State or political subdivision subject to 
the prohibitions of the second sentence of section 4(a) 
provides any registration or voting notices, forms, 
instructions, assistance, or other materials or information 
relating to the electoral process, including ballots, it shall 
provide them in the language of the applicable language 
minority group as well as in the English language: Provided, 
That where the language of the applicable minority group is 
oral or unwritten or in the case of Alaskan Natives and 
American Indians, if the predominate language is historically 
unwritten, the State or political subdivision is only required 
to furnish oral instructions, assistance, or other information 
relating to registration and voting.]

SEC. 4A. DETERMINATION OF STATES AND POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS SUBJECT TO 
                    PRECLEARANCE FOR COVERED PRACTICES.

  (a) Practice-Based Preclearance.--
          (1) In general.--Each State and each political 
        subdivision shall--
                  (A) identify any newly enacted or adopted 
                law, regulation, or policy that includes a 
                voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, 
                or a standard, practice, or procedure with 
                respect to voting, that is a covered practice 
                described in subsection (b); and
                  (B) ensure that no such covered practice is 
                implemented unless or until the State or 
                political subdivision, as the case may be, 
                complies with subsection (c).
          (2) Determinations of characteristics of voting-age 
        population.--
                  (A) In general.--As early as practicable 
                during each calendar year, the Attorney 
                General, in consultation with the Director of 
                the Bureau of the Census and the heads of other 
                relevant offices of the government, shall make 
                the determinations required by this section 
                regarding voting-age populations and the 
                characteristics of such populations, and shall 
                publish a list of the States and political 
                subdivisions to which a voting-age population 
                characteristic described in subsection (b) 
                applies.
                  (B) Publication in the federal register.--A 
                determination or certification of the Attorney 
                General under this paragraph shall be effective 
                upon publication in the Federal Register.
  (b) Covered Practices.--To assure that the right of citizens 
of the United States to vote is not denied or abridged on 
account of race, color, or membership in a language minority 
group as a result of the implementation of certain 
qualifications or prerequisites to voting, or standards, 
practices, or procedures with respect to voting newly adopted 
in a State or political subdivision, the following shall be 
covered practices subject to the requirements described in 
subsection (a):
          (1) Changes to method of election.--Any change to the 
        method of election--
                  (A) to add seats elected at-large in a State 
                or political subdivision where--
                          (i) 2 or more racial groups or 
                        language minority groups each represent 
                        20 percent or more of the political 
                        subdivision's voting-age population; or
                          (ii) a single language minority group 
                        represents 20 percent or more of the 
                        voting-age population on Indian lands 
                        located in whole or in part in the 
                        political subdivision; or
                  (B) to convert one or more seats elected from 
                a single-member district to one or more at-
                large seats or seats from a multi-member 
                district in a State or political subdivision 
                where--
                          (i) 2 or more racial groups or 
                        language minority groups each represent 
                        20 percent or more of the political 
                        subdivision's voting-age population; or
                          (ii) a single language minority group 
                        represents 20 percent or more of the 
                        voting-age population on Indian lands 
                        located in whole or in part in the 
                        political subdivision.
          (2) Changes to jurisdiction boundaries.--Any change 
        or series of changes within a year to the boundaries of 
        a jurisdiction that reduces by 3 or more percentage 
        points the proportion of the jurisdiction's voting-age 
        population that is comprised of members of a single 
        racial group or language minority group in a State or 
        political subdivision where--
                  (A) 2 or more racial groups or language 
                minority groups each represent 20 percent or 
                more of the political subdivision's voting-age 
                population; or
                  (B) a single language minority group 
                represents 20 percent or more of the voting-age 
                population on Indian lands located in whole or 
                in part in the political subdivision.
          (3) Changes through redistricting.--Any change to the 
        boundaries of election districts in a State or 
        political subdivision where any racial group or 
        language minority group experiences a population 
        increase, over the preceding decade (as calculated by 
        the Bureau of the Census under the most recent 
        decennial census), of at least--
                  (A) 10,000; or
                  (B) 20 percent of voting-age population of 
                the State or political subdivision, as the case 
                may be.
          (4) Changes in documentation or qualifications to 
        vote.--Any change to requirements for documentation or 
        proof of identity to vote such that the requirements 
        will exceed or be more stringent than the requirements 
        for voting that are described in section 303(b) of the 
        Help America Vote Act of 2002 (52 U.S.C. 21083(b)) or 
        any change to the requirements for documentation or 
        proof of identity to register to vote that will exceed 
        or be more stringent than such requirements under State 
        law on the day before the date of enactment of the 
        Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019.
          (5) Changes to multilingual voting materials.--Any 
        change that reduces multilingual voting materials or 
        alters the manner in which such materials are provided 
        or distributed, where no similar reduction or 
        alteration occurs in materials provided in English for 
        such election.
          (6) Changes that reduce, consolidate, or relocate 
        voting locations.--Any change that reduces, 
        consolidates, or relocates voting locations, including 
        early, absentee, and election-day voting locations--
                  (A) in 1 or more census tracts wherein 2 or 
                more language minority groups or racial groups 
                each represent 20 percent or more of the 
                voting-age population of the political 
                subdivision; or
                  (B) on Indian lands wherein at least 20 
                percent of the voting-age population belongs to 
                a single language minority group.
  (c) Preclearance.--
          (1) In general.--Whenever a State or political 
        subdivision with respect to which the requirements set 
        forth in subsection (a) are in effect shall enact, 
        adopt, or seek to implement any covered practice 
        described under subsection (b), such State or 
        subdivision may institute an action in the United 
        States District Court for the District of Columbia for 
        a declaratory judgment that such covered practice 
        neither has the purpose nor will have the effect of 
        denying or abridging the right to vote on account of 
        race, color, or membership in a language minority 
        group, and unless and until the court enters such 
        judgment such covered practice shall not be 
        implemented. Notwithstanding the previous sentence, 
        such covered practice may be implemented without such 
        proceeding if the covered practice has been submitted 
        by the chief legal officer or other appropriate 
        official of such State or subdivision to the Attorney 
        General and the Attorney General has not interposed an 
        objection within 60 days after such submission, or upon 
        good cause shown, to facilitate an expedited approval 
        within 60 days after such submission, the Attorney 
        General has affirmatively indicated that such objection 
        will not be made. Neither an affirmative indication by 
        the Attorney General that no objection will be made, 
        nor the Attorney General's failure to object, nor a 
        declaratory judgment entered under this section shall 
        bar a subsequent action to enjoin implementation of 
        such covered practice. In the event the Attorney 
        General affirmatively indicates that no objection will 
        be made within the 60-day period following receipt of a 
        submission, the Attorney General may reserve the right 
        to reexamine the submission if additional information 
        comes to the Attorney General's attention during the 
        remainder of the 60-day period which would otherwise 
        require objection in accordance with this section. Any 
        action under this section shall be heard and determined 
        by a court of three judges in accordance with the 
        provisions of section 2284 of title 28, United States 
        Code, and any appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court.
          (2) Denying or abridging the right to vote.--Any 
        covered practice described in subsection (b) that has 
        the purpose of or will have the effect of diminishing 
        the ability of any citizens of the United States on 
        account of race, color, or membership in a language 
        minority group, to elect their preferred candidates of 
        choice denies or abridges the right to vote within the 
        meaning of paragraph (1) of this subsection.
          (3) Purpose defined.--The term ``purpose'' in 
        paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection shall include 
        any discriminatory purpose.
          (4) Purpose of paragraph (2).--The purpose of 
        paragraph (2) of this subsection is to protect the 
        ability of such citizens to elect their preferred 
        candidates of choice.
  (d) Enforcement.--The Attorney General or any aggrieved 
citizen may file an action in a Federal district court to 
compel any State or political subdivision to satisfy the 
obligations set forth in this section. Such actions shall be 
heard and determined by a court of 3 judges under section 2284 
of title 28, United States Code. In any such action, the court 
shall provide as a remedy that any voting qualification or 
prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure 
with respect to voting, that is the subject of the action under 
this subsection be enjoined unless the court determines that--
          (1) the voting qualification or prerequisite to 
        voting, or standard, practice, or procedure with 
        respect to voting, is not a covered practice described 
        in subsection (b); or
          (2) the State or political subdivision has complied 
        with subsection (c) with respect to the covered 
        practice at issue.
  (e) Counting of Racial Groups and Language Minority Groups.--
For purposes of this section, the calculation of the population 
of a racial group or a language minority group shall be carried 
out using the methodology in the guidance promulgated in the 
Federal Register on February 9, 2011 (76 Fed. Reg. 7470).
  (f) Special Rule.--For purposes of determinations under this 
section, any data provided by the Bureau of the Census, whether 
based on estimation from sample or actual enumeration, shall 
not be subject to challenge or review in any court.
  (g) Multilingual Voting Materials.--In this section, the term 
``multilingual voting materials'' means registration or voting 
notices, forms, instructions, assistance, or other materials or 
information relating to the electoral process, including 
ballots, provided in the language or languages of one or more 
language minority groups.
  Sec. 5. (a) Whenever a State or political subdivision with 
respect to which the prohibitions set forth in section 4(a) 
[based upon determinations made under the first sentence of 
section 4(b) are in effect] are in effect during a calendar 
year shall enact or seek to administer any voting qualification 
or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure 
with respect to voting different from that in force or effect 
on [November 1, 1964, or whenever a State or political 
subdivision with respect to which the prohibitions set forth in 
section 4(a) based upon determinations made under the second 
sentence of section 4(b) are in effect shall enact or seek to 
administer any voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, 
or standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting 
different from that in force or effect on November 1, 1968, or 
whenever a State or political subdivision with respect to which 
the prohibitions set forth in section 4(a) based upon 
determinations made under the third sentence of section 4(b) 
are in effect shall enact or seek to administer any voting 
qualifications or prerequisite to voting, or standard, 
practice, or procedure with respect to voting different from 
that in force or effect on November 1, 1972] the applicable 
date of coverage, such State or subdivision may institute an 
action in the United States District Court for the District of 
Columbia for a declaratory judgment that such qualification, 
prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure neither has the 
purpose nor will have the effect of denying or abridging the 
right to vote on account of race or color, or in contravention 
of the guarantees set forth in section 4(f)(2), and unless and 
until the court enters such judgment no person shall be denied 
the right to vote for failure to comply with such 
qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure: 
Provided, That such qualification, prerequisite, standard, 
practice, or procedure may be enforced without such proceeding 
if the qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or 
procedure has been submitted by the chief legal officer or 
other appropriate official of such State or subdivision to the 
Attorney General and the Attorney General has not interposed an 
objection within sixty days after such submission, or upon good 
cause shown, to facilitate an expedited approval within sixty 
days after such submission, the Attorney General has 
affirmatively indicated that such objection will not be made. 
Neither an affirmative indication by the Attorney General that 
no objection will be made, nor the Attorney General's failure 
to object, nor a declaratory judgment entered under this 
section shall bar a subsequent action to enjoin enforcement of 
such qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or 
procedure. In the event the Attorney General affirmatively 
indicates that no objection will be made within the sixty-day 
period following receipt of a submission, the Attorney General 
may reserve the right to reexamine the submission if additional 
information comes to his attention during the remainder of the 
sixty-day period which would otherwise require objection in 
accordance with this section. Any action under this section 
shall be heard and determined by a court of three judges in 
accordance with the provisions of section 2284 of title 28 of 
the United States Code and any appeal shall lie to the Supreme 
Court.
  (b) Any voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or 
standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting that 
has the purpose of or will have the effect of diminishing the 
ability of any citizens of the United States on account of race 
or color, or in contravention of the guarantees set forth in 
section 4(f)(2), to elect their preferred candidates of choice 
denies or abridges the right to vote within the meaning of 
subsection (a) of this section.
  (c) The term ``purpose'' in subsections (a) and (b) of this 
section shall include any discriminatory purpose.
  (d) The purpose of subsection (b) of this section is to 
protect the ability of such citizens to elect their preferred 
candidates of choice.
  (e) The term ``applicable date of coverage'' means, with 
respect to a State or political subdivision--
          (1) June 25, 2013, if the most recent determination 
        for such State or subdivision under section 4(b) was 
        made on or before December 31, 2019; or
          (2) the date on which the most recent determination 
        for such State or subdivision under section 4(b) was 
        made, if such determination was made after December 31, 
        2019.

SEC. 6. TRANSPARENCY REGARDING CHANGES TO PROTECT VOTING RIGHTS.

  (a) Notice of Enacted Changes.--
          (1) Notice of changes.--If a State or political 
        subdivision makes any change in any prerequisite to 
        voting or standard, practice, or procedure with respect 
        to voting in any election for Federal office that will 
        result in the prerequisite, standard, practice, or 
        procedure being different from that which was in effect 
        as of 180 days before the date of the election for 
        Federal office, the State or political subdivision 
        shall provide reasonable public notice in such State or 
        political subdivision and on the Internet, of a concise 
        description of the change, including the difference 
        between the changed prerequisite, standard, practice, 
        or procedure and the prerequisite, standard, practice, 
        or procedure which was previously in effect. The public 
        notice described in this paragraph, in such State or 
        political subdivision and on the Internet, shall be in 
        a format that is reasonably convenient and accessible 
        to voters with disabilities, including voters who have 
        low vision or are blind.
          (2) Deadline for notice.--A State or political 
        subdivision shall provide the public notice required 
        under paragraph (1) not later than 48 hours after 
        making the change involved.
  (b) Transparency Regarding Polling Place Resources.--
          (1) In general.--In order to identify any changes 
        that may impact the right to vote of any person, prior 
        to the 30th day before the date of an election for 
        Federal office, each State or political subdivision 
        with responsibility for allocating registered voters, 
        voting machines, and official poll workers to 
        particular precincts and polling places shall provide 
        reasonable public notice in such State or political 
        subdivision and on the Internet, of the information 
        described in paragraph (2) for precincts and polling 
        places within such State or political subdivision. The 
        public notice described in this paragraph, in such 
        State or political subdivision and on the Internet, 
        shall be in a format that is reasonably convenient and 
        accessible to voters with disabilities including voters 
        who have low vision or are blind.
          (2) Information described.--The information described 
        in this paragraph with respect to a precinct or polling 
        place is each of the following:
                  (A) The name or number.
                  (B) In the case of a polling place, the 
                location, including the street address, and 
                whether such polling place is accessible to 
                persons with disabilities.
                  (C) The voting-age population of the area 
                served by the precinct or polling place, broken 
                down by demographic group if such breakdown is 
                reasonably available to such State or political 
                subdivision.
                  (D) The number of registered voters assigned 
                to the precinct or polling place, broken down 
                by demographic group if such breakdown is 
                reasonably available to such State or political 
                subdivision.
                  (E) The number of voting machines assigned, 
                including the number of voting machines 
                accessible to voters with disabilities, 
                including voters who have low vision or are 
                blind.
                  (F) The number of official paid poll workers 
                assigned.
                  (G) The number of official volunteer poll 
                workers assigned.
                  (H) In the case of a polling place, the dates 
                and hours of operation.
          (3) Updates in information reported.--If a State or 
        political subdivision makes any change in any of the 
        information described in paragraph (2), the State or 
        political subdivision shall provide reasonable public 
        notice in such State or political subdivision and on 
        the Internet, of the change in the information not 
        later than 48 hours after the change occurs or, if the 
        change occurs fewer than 48 hours before the date of 
        the election for Federal office, as soon as practicable 
        after the change occurs. The public notice described in 
        this paragraph in such State or political subdivision 
        and on the Internet shall be in a format that is 
        reasonably convenient and accessible to voters with 
        disabilities including voters who have low vision or 
        are blind.
  (c) Transparency of Changes Relating to Demographics and 
Electoral Districts.--
          (1) Requiring public notice of changes.--Not later 
        than 10 days after making any change in the 
        constituency that will participate in an election for 
        Federal, State, or local office or the boundaries of a 
        voting unit or electoral district in an election for 
        Federal, State, or local office (including through 
        redistricting, reapportionment, changing from at-large 
        elections to district-based elections, or changing from 
        district-based elections to at-large elections), a 
        State or political subdivision shall provide reasonable 
        public notice in such State or political subdivision 
        and on the Internet, of the demographic and electoral 
        data described in paragraph (3) for each of the 
        geographic areas described in paragraph (2).
          (2) Geographic areas described.--The geographic areas 
        described in this paragraph are as follows:
                  (A) The State as a whole, if the change 
                applies statewide, or the political subdivision 
                as a whole, if the change applies across the 
                entire political subdivision.
                  (B) If the change includes a plan to replace 
                or eliminate voting units or electoral 
                districts, each voting unit or electoral 
                district that will be replaced or eliminated.
                  (C) If the change includes a plan to 
                establish new voting units or electoral 
                districts, each such new voting unit or 
                electoral district.
          (3) Demographic and electoral data.--The demographic 
        and electoral data described in this paragraph with 
        respect to a geographic area described in paragraph (2) 
        are each of the following:
                  (A) The voting-age population, broken down by 
                demographic group.
                  (B) If it is reasonably available to the 
                State or political subdivision involved, an 
                estimate of the population of the area which 
                consists of citizens of the United States who 
                are 18 years of age or older, broken down by 
                demographic group.
                  (C) The number of registered voters, broken 
                down by demographic group if such breakdown is 
                reasonably available to the State or political 
                subdivision involved.
                  (D)(i) If the change applies to a State, the 
                actual number of votes, or (if it is not 
                reasonably practicable for the State to 
                ascertain the actual number of votes) the 
                estimated number of votes received by each 
                candidate in each statewide election held 
                during the 5-year period which ends on the date 
                the change involved is made; and
                  (ii) if the change applies to only one 
                political subdivision, the actual number of 
                votes, or (if it is not reasonably practicable 
                for the political subdivision to ascertain the 
                actual number of votes) in each subdivision-
                wide election held during the 5-year period 
                which ends on the date the change involved is 
                made.
          (4) Voluntary compliance by smaller jurisdictions.--
        Compliance with this subsection shall be voluntary for 
        a political subdivision of a State unless the 
        subdivision is one of the following:
                  (A) A county or parish.
                  (B) A municipality with a population greater 
                than 10,000, as determined by the Bureau of the 
                Census under the most recent decennial census.
                  (C) A school district with a population 
                greater than 10,000, as determined by the 
                Bureau of the Census under the most recent 
                decennial census. For purposes of this 
                subparagraph, the term ``school district'' 
                means the geographic area under the 
                jurisdiction of a local educational agency (as 
                defined in section 9101 of the Elementary and 
                Secondary Education Act of 1965).
  (d) Rules Regarding Format of Information.--The Attorney 
General may issue rules specifying a reasonably convenient and 
accessible format that States and political subdivisions shall 
use to provide public notice of information under this section.
  (e) No Denial of Right to Vote.--The right to vote of any 
person shall not be denied or abridged because the person 
failed to comply with any change made by a State or political 
subdivision to a voting qualification, standard, practice, or 
procedure if the State or political subdivision involved did 
not meet the applicable requirements of this section with 
respect to the change.
  (f) Definitions.--In this section--
          (1) the term ``demographic group'' means each group 
        which section 2 protects from the denial or abridgement 
        of the right to vote on account of race or color, or in 
        contravention of the guarantees set forth in section 
        4(f)(2);
          (2) the term ``election for Federal office'' means 
        any general, special, primary, or runoff election held 
        solely or in part for the purpose of electing any 
        candidate for the office of President, Vice President, 
        Presidential elector, Senator, Member of the House of 
        Representatives, or Delegate or Resident Commissioner 
        to the Congress; and
          (3) the term ``persons with disabilities'', means 
        individuals with a disability, as defined in section 3 
        of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
  Sec. 8. (a) Whenever--
          (1) a court has authorized the appointment of 
        observers under section 3(a) for a political 
        subdivision; [or]
          (2) the Attorney General certifies with respect to 
        any political subdivision named in, or included within 
        the scope of, determinations made under section 4(b), 
        unless a declaratory judgment has been rendered under 
        section 4(a), that--
                  (A) the Attorney General has received written 
                meritorious complaints from residents, elected 
                officials, or civic participation organizations 
                that efforts to deny or abridge the right to 
                vote under the color of law on account of race 
                or color, or in contravention of the guarantees 
                set forth in section 4(f)(2) are likely to 
                occur; or
                  [(B) in the Attorney General's judgment 
                (considering, among other factors, whether the 
                ratio of nonwhite persons to white persons 
                registered to vote within such subdivision 
                appears to the Attorney General to be 
                reasonably attributable to violations of the 
                14th or 15th amendment or whether substantial 
                evidence exists that bona fide efforts are 
                being made within such subdivision to comply 
                with the 14th or 15th amendment), the 
                assignment of observers is otherwise necessary 
                to enforce the guarantees of the 14th or 15th 
                amendment;]
                  (B) in the Attorney General's judgment, the 
                assignment of observers is otherwise necessary 
                to enforce the guarantees of the 14th or 15th 
                Amendment or any provision of this Act or any 
                other Federal law protecting the right of 
                citizens of the United States to vote; or
          (3) the Attorney General certifies with respect to a 
        political subdivision that--
                  (A) the Attorney General has received written 
                meritorious complaints from residents, elected 
                officials, or civic participation organizations 
                that efforts to violate section 203 are likely 
                to occur; or
                  (B) in the Attorney General's judgment, the 
                assignment of observers is necessary to enforce 
                the guarantees of section 203;
the Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall assign 
as many observers for such subdivision as the Director may deem 
appropriate.
  (b) Except as provided in subsection (c), such observers 
shall be assigned, compensated, and separated without regard to 
the provisions of any statute administered by the Director of 
the Office of Personnel Management, and their service under 
this Act shall not be considered employment for the purposes of 
any statute administered by the Director of the Office of 
Personnel Management, except the provisions of section 7324 of 
title 5, United States Code, prohibiting partisan political 
activity.
  (c) The Director of the Office of Personnel Management is 
authorized to, after consulting the head of the appropriate 
department or agency, designate suitable persons in the 
official service of the United States, with their consent, to 
serve in these positions.
  (d) Observers shall be authorized to--
          (1) enter and attend at any place for holding an 
        election in such subdivision for the purpose of 
        observing whether persons who are entitled to vote are 
        being permitted to vote; and
          (2) enter and attend at any place for tabulating the 
        votes cast at any election held in such subdivision for 
        the purpose of observing whether votes cast by persons 
        entitled to vote are being properly tabulated.
  (e) Observers shall investigate and report to the Attorney 
General, and if the appointment of observers has been 
authorized pursuant to section 3(a), to the court.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  Sec. 12. (a) Whoever shall deprive or attempt to deprive any 
person of any right secured by section 2, 3, 4, 5, or 10 or 
shall violate section 11(a), shall be fined not more than 
$5,000, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
  (b) Whoever, within a year following an election in a 
political subdivision in which an observer has been assigned 
(1) destroys, defaces, mutilates, or otherwise alters the 
marking of a paper ballot which has been cast in such election, 
or (2) alters any official record of voting in such election 
tabulated from a voting machine or otherwise, shall be fined 
not more than $5,000, or imprisoned not more than five years, 
or both.
  (c) Whoever conspires to violate the provisions of subsection 
(a) or (b) of this section, or interferes with any right 
secured by section 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, or 11(a) shall be fined not 
more than $5,000, or imprisoned not more than five years, or 
both.
  [(d) Whenever any person] (d)(1) Whenever any person  has 
engaged or there are reasonable grounds to believe that any 
person is about to engage in any act or practice prohibited by 
[section 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, or subsection (b) of this 
section] the 14th or 15th Amendment, this Act, or any Federal 
voting rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of 
race, color, or membership in a language minority group, [the 
Attorney General may institute for the United States, or in the 
name of the United States,] the aggrieved person or (in the 
name of the United States) the Attorney General may institute 
an action for preventive relief, including an application for a 
temporary or permanent injunction, restraining order, or other 
order, and including an order directed to the State and State 
or local election officials to require them [(1)] (A) [to 
permit] to permit persons listed under this Act to vote and 
[(2)] (B) [to count] to count such votes.
  (2)(A) In any action for preliminary relief described in this 
subsection, the court shall grant the relief if the court 
determines that the complainant has raised a serious question 
whether the challenged voting qualification or prerequisite to 
voting or standard, practice, or procedure violates this Act or 
the Constitution and, on balance, the hardship imposed upon the 
defendant by the grant of the relief will be less than the 
hardship which would be imposed upon the plaintiff if the 
relief were not granted. In balancing the harms, the court 
shall give due weight to the fundamental right to cast an 
effective ballot.
  (B) In making its determination under this paragraph with 
respect to a change in any voting qualification, prerequisite 
to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure with respect to 
voting, the court shall consider all relevant factors and give 
due weight to the following factors, if they are present:
          (i) Whether the qualification, prerequisite, 
        standard, practice, or procedure in effect prior to the 
        change was adopted as a remedy for a Federal court 
        judgment, consent decree, or admission regarding--
                  (I) discrimination on the basis of race or 
                color in violation of the 14th or 15th 
                Amendment;
                  (II) a violation of this Act; or
                  (III) voting discrimination on the basis of 
                race, color, or membership in a language 
                minority group in violation of any other 
                Federal or State law.
          (ii) Whether the qualification, prerequisite, 
        standard, practice, or procedure in effect prior to the 
        change served as a ground for the dismissal or 
        settlement of a claim alleging--
                  (I) discrimination on the basis of race or 
                color in violation of the 14th or 15th 
                Amendment;
                  (II) a violation of this Act; or
                  (III) voting discrimination on the basis of 
                race, color, or membership in a language 
                minority group in violation of any other 
                Federal or State law.
          (iii) Whether the change was adopted fewer than 180 
        days before the date of the election with respect to 
        which the change is to take effect.
          (iv) Whether the defendant has failed to provide 
        timely or complete notice of the adoption of the change 
        as required by applicable Federal or State law.
  (3) A jurisdiction's inability to enforce its voting or 
election laws, regulations, policies, or redistricting plans, 
standing alone, shall not be deemed to constitute irreparable 
harm to the public interest or to the interests of a defendant 
in an action arising under the U.S. Constitution or any Federal 
law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, 
or membership in a language minority group in the voting 
process, for the purposes of determining whether a stay of a 
court's order or an interlocutory appeal under section 1253 of 
title 28, United States Code, is warranted. A jurisdiction's 
inability to enforce its voting or election laws, regulations, 
policies, or redistricting plans, standing alone, shall not be 
deemed to constitute irreparable harm to the public interest or 
to the interests of a defendant in an action arising under the 
U.S. Constitution or any Federal law that prohibits 
discrimination on the basis of race, color, or membership in a 
language minority group in the voting process, for the purposes 
of determining whether a stay of a court's order or an 
interlocutory appeal under section 1253 of title 28, United 
States Code, is warranted.
  (e) Whenever in any political subdivision in which there are 
observers appointed pursuant to this Act any persons allege to 
such an observer within forty-eight hours after the closing of 
the polls that notwithstanding (1) their listing under this Act 
or registration by an appropriate election official and (2) 
their eligibility to vote, they have not been permitted to vote 
in such election, the observer shall forthwith notify the 
Attorney General if such allegations in his opinion appear to 
be well founded. Upon receipt of such notification the Attorney 
General may forthwith file with the district court an 
application for an order providing for the marking, casting, 
and counting of the ballots of such persons and requiring the 
inclusion of their votes in the total vote before the results 
of such election shall be deemed final and any force or effect 
given thereto. The district court shall hear and determine such 
matters immediately after the filing of such application. The 
remedy provided in this subsection shall not preclude any 
remedy available under State or Federal law.
  (f) The district courts of the United States shall have 
jurisdiction of proceedings instituted pursuant to this section 
and shall exercise the same without regard to whether a person 
asserting rights under the provisions of this Act shall have 
exhausted any administrative or other remedies that may be 
provided by law.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  Sec. 14. (a) All cases of criminal contempt arising under the 
provisions of this Act shall be governed by section 151 of the 
Civil Rights Act of 1957 (42 U.S.C. 1995).
  (b) No court other than the District Court for the District 
of Columbia shall have jurisdiction to issue any declaratory 
judgment pursuant to section 4 or section 5 or any restraining 
order or temporary or permanent injunction against the 
execution or enforcement of any provision of this Act or any 
action of any Federal officer or employee pursuant hereto.
  (c)(1) The terms ``vote'' or ``voting'' shall include all 
action necessary to make a vote effective in any primary, 
special, or general election, including, but not limited to, 
registration, listing pursuant to this Act, or other action 
required by law prerequisite to voting, casting a ballot, and 
having such a ballot counted properly and included in the 
appropriate totals of votes cast with respect to candidates for 
public or party office and propositions for which votes are 
received in an election.
  (2) The term ``political subdivision'' shall mean any county 
or parish, except that where registration for voting is not 
conducted under the supervision of a county or parish, the term 
shall include any other subdivision of a State which conducts 
registration for voting.
  (3) The term ``language minorities'' or ``language minority 
group'' means persons who are American Indian, Asian American, 
Alaskan Natives or of Spanish heritage.
  (4) The term ``prevailing party'' means a party to an action 
that receives at least some of the benefit sought by such 
action, states a colorable claim, and can establish that the 
action was a significant cause of a change to the status quo.
  (d) In any action for a declaratory judgment brought pursuant 
to section 4 or section 5 of this Act, subpenas for witnesses 
who are required to attend the District Court for the District 
of Columbia may be served in any judicial district of the 
United States: Provided, That no writ of subpena shall issue 
for witnesses without the District of Columbia at a greater 
distance than one hundred miles from the place of holding court 
without the permission of the District Court for the District 
of Columbia being first had upon proper application and cause 
shown.
  (e) In any action or proceeding to enforce the voting 
guarantees of the fourteenth or fifteenth amendment, the court, 
in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party, other than 
the United States, a reasonable attorney's fee, reasonable 
expert fees, and other reasonable litigation expenses as part 
of the costs.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 21. DEFINITIONS.

  In this Act:
          (1) Indian.--The term ``Indian'' has the meaning 
        given the term in section 4 of the Indian Self-
        Determination and Education Assistance Act.
          (2) Indian lands.--The term ``Indian lands'' means--
                  (A) any Indian country of an Indian tribe, as 
                such term is defined in section 1151 of title 
                18, United States Code;
                  (B) any land in Alaska that is owned, 
                pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement 
                Act, by an Indian tribe that is a Native 
                village (as such term is defined in section 3 
                of such Act), or by a Village Corporation that 
                is associated with the Indian tribe (as such 
                term is defined in section 3 of such Act);
                  (C) any land on which the seat of government 
                of the Indian tribe is located; and
                  (D) any land that is part or all of a tribal 
                designated statistical area associated with the 
                Indian tribe, or is part or all of an Alaska 
                Native village statistical area associated with 
                the tribe, as defined by the Bureau of the 
                Census for the purposes of the most recent 
                decennial census.
          (3) Indian tribe.--The term ``Indian tribe'' or 
        ``tribe'' has the meaning given the term ``Indian 
        tribe'' in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination 
        and Education Assistance Act.
          (4) Tribal government.--The term ``Tribal 
        Government'' means the recognized governing body of an 
        Indian Tribe.
          (5) Voting-age population.--The term ``voting-age 
        population'' means the numerical size of the population 
        within a State, within a political subdivision, or 
        within a political subdivision that contains Indian 
        lands, as the case may be, that consists of persons age 
        18 or older, as calculated by the Bureau of the Census 
        under the most recent decennial census.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                            Dissenting Views

    Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was designed to 
protect individuals from intentional employment discrimination 
on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national 
origin.\1\ The Senate floor managers of Title VII, Senators 
Clifford Case (R-NJ) and Joseph Clark (D-PA), made clear that 
Title VII only prohibited intentional discrimination and did 
not require statistical parity based on race, religion, or 
national origin. In their exhaustive memorandum distributed 
prior to Senate debate on the bill, the senators wrote, 
``[t]here is no requirement in Title VII that an employer 
maintain a racial balance in his work force.'' This 
interpretation was reiterated by Senator Hubert Humphrey (D-
MN), who said, ``[i]f [a] Senator can find in Title VII . . . 
any language which provides that an employer will have to hire 
on the basis of percentage or quota related to color, race, 
religion, or national origin, I will start eating the pages one 
after another, because it is not in there.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Title VII: Unlawful Employment Practices, Civil Rights Act of 
1964 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000e-2, available at https://www.law.cornell.edu/
uscode/text/42/2000e-2.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Over time, however, Title VII's prohibition of disparate 
treatment also came to cover employers' actions that resulted 
in a disparate impact on covered groups, even if those actions 
were the result of facially neutral policies which were applied 
without any intent to discriminate. Alfred W. Blumrosen, the 
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's first Chief of 
Compliance, employed ``[c]reative administration'' to draft 
regulations which would be interpreted under Title VII 
``liberally.''\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\See Alfred W. Blumrosen, Black Employment and the Law 53 (1971) 
(stating that ``[c]reative administration converted a powerless agency 
operating under an apparently weak statute into a major force for the 
elimination of employment discrimination''); id. at 58 (stating that 
``[t]he objective was to maximize the effect of the statute [Title VII] 
on employment discrimination without going back to the Congress for 
more substantive legislation''). Blumrosen later admitted that such 
regulations did not ``flow from any clear congressional grant of 
authority.'' Alfred W. Blumrosen, Strangers in Paradise: Griggs v. Duke 
Power Co. and the Concept of Employment Discrimination, 71 Mich. L. 
Rev. 59, 95 (1972).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Under such regulations, Title VII would come to be 
interpreted to ban not just intentional discrimination but also 
practices that disproportionately and adversely affected the 
numerical representation of a covered group, even if such a 
practice was neutral by its terms and motivated by no ill will. 
The Supreme Court ultimately approved claims based on disparate 
impact in the 1971 case of Griggs v. Duke Power Co.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\401 U.S. 424 (1971).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The result of this legal shift is that much discussion of 
civil rights has shifted into a numbers game that has nothing 
to do with discriminatory treatment based on race. To show how 
this numbers game works, take the example of the Department of 
Justice's letter declining to ``preclear'' South Carolina's 
voter ID law in 2011.\4\ The Department claimed in the letter 
that ``minority registered voters were nearly 20% more likely 
to . . . be effectively disenfranchised'' by the law because 
they lacked a driver's license. But the difference between 
white and African-American holders of a driver's license was 
only 1.6 percent. The Justice Department used the 20% figure 
because, while the state's data showed that 8.4% of white 
registered voters lacked any form of DMV-issued ID, as compared 
to 10.0% of non-white registered voters, the number 10 is 20% 
larger than the number 8.4. It's true mathematically that 10 is 
20% larger (actually, 19%--the Justice Department rounded up) 
than 8.4, but it clearly distorts the reported difference in 
driver's license rates, and it was used to declare the South 
Carolina law discriminatory.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\Letter from the Office of the Assistant Attorney General to C. 
Havird Jones, Jr., Esq., Assistant Deputy Attorney General, available 
at https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/crt/legacy/2014/05/30/
l_111223.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    There are thousands of potential explanations for 
differences in outcomes among demographic groups. To just take 
just one example, as a group, the data indicates whites have a 
higher median age than other minority demographics, and due to 
those higher age rates they will generally have more 
accumulated resources and work experience, which will lead to 
some differences in general outcomes.\5\

    \5\Most Common Age in U.S., by Race and Ethnicity, Pew Research 
Center (July 6, 2016), available at https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-
tank/2019/07/30/most-common-age-among-us-racial-ethnic-groups/ft_16-06-
23_raceage3-2/.

              [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


    Going back to the South Carolina voting law example, data 
shows that younger people of all races tend to be the least 
likely to have driver's licenses.\6\ Consequently, if African 
Americans have proportionately more young people in their 
demographic group, there will naturally be a disproportionate 
number of people in that demographic group without driver's 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
licenses.

    \6\Vanessa M. Perez, Ph.D., Americans With Photo ID: A Breakdown of 
Demographic Characteristics, Project Vote (Feb. 2015), available at 
http://www.projectvote.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/AMERICANS-WITH-
PHOTO-ID-Research-Memo-February-2015.pdf.

              [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


    (Further, researchers including one at Harvard Business 
School found that ``U.S. states increasingly require 
identification to vote . . . Using a difference-in-differences 
design on a 1.3-billion-observations panel, we find the laws 
have no negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or 
for any group defined by race, gender, age, or party 
affiliation. These results hold through a large number of 
specifications and cannot be attributed to mobilization against 
the laws, measured by campaign contributions and self-reported 
political engagement.'')\7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\Enrico Cantoni & Vincent Pons, Strict ID Laws Don't Stop Voters: 
Evidence From a U.S. Nationwide Panel, 2008-2016, National Bureau Of 
Economic Research (Feb. 2019), available at https://www.nber.org/
papers/w25522.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The disparate impact approach to civil rights--and the 
assumption that different outcomes are the result of 
discrimination--is fundamentally unsound for the same reason 
social scientists are trained that ``correlation does not imply 
causation.'' In other words, there can be all sorts of 
correlations between one event and another, but that doesn't 
answer the question as to why that correlation exists.
    Similarly, the idea that a certain neutral policy is 
associated with disparate impacts on certain covered classes of 
people doesn't imply the disparate result was caused by 
discrimination (or anything else in particular). Yet often, 
discrimination is often assumed as the cause of disparate 
impacts, and, even worse, it is often selectively assumed as 
the cause in ways that ignore the influence of culture, for 
political purposes.

          History of the Voting Rights Act and H.R. 4 Concerns

    The Supreme Court struck down the decades-old formula 
(Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1964) that Congress 
originally crafted to determine which states or localities 
would have to get their election law changes pre-approved by 
the Justice Department (a process called ``preclearance''). 
What the Supreme Court left in place, however, was Section 3 of 
the Voting Rights Act, which authorizes federal courts to 
impose preclearance requirements on states and localities that 
have enacted intentionally discriminatory voting procedures in 
violation of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. If a 
state or locality is found by the federal court to have 
discriminated in voting, then the court has discretion to 
retain supervisory jurisdiction and impose preclearance 
requirements on the state or locality until a future date at 
the court's discretion. The Supreme Court also left in place 
Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which applies nationwide 
and allows claimants to sue any jurisdiction for a violation of 
voting rights.
    Currently, Section 3 allows a federal court to place a 
jurisdiction under a preclearance regime if it has demonstrated 
``violations of the Fourteenth or Fifteenth Amendment'' that 
involve intentional discrimination. H.R. 4, however, adds that 
a federal court could place a jurisdiction under a preclearance 
regime if it has demonstrated ``violations of this Act; or 
violations of any Federal voting rights law that prohibits 
discrimination on the basis of race, color, or membership in a 
language minority group,'' including those that allow 
``disparate impact'' claims.
    Another part of H.R. 4 creates a system in which states and 
localities can be placed under a Department of Justice 
preclearance regime if the Attorney General determines that a 
given number of ``violations of any Federal voting rights law 
that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or 
membership in a language minority group'' have occurred. Under 
the bill, states would be covered under a preclearance regime 
for 10 years if the Attorney General determines 10 or more 
violations occurred in the state over the previous 25 years, 
only one of which would have to be committed by the state 
itself as opposed to a locality. Any violation, no matter how 
insignificant in context, could count as one of the ``strikes'' 
against a state or locality. Under the bill, as it would 
interact with other current voting rights laws and the relevant 
case law, the covered violations could include violations based 
not on any evidence of actual discrimination, but on 
statistical showings that, for example, moving a polling 
station from one block to another a few blocks away had a 
statistically disparate impact on minority voters because, say, 
2% more minority voters than non-minority voters would have to 
walk further to get there. (See also the example of the South 
Carolina law described previously, in which the Justice 
Department declared the law discriminatory because 1.6% more 
African-Americans than whites were affected adversely by a lack 
of a driver's license.)
    Outside groups have compiled a submission of evidence to 
demonstrate the need to amend the Voting Rights Act. The list 
of examples overwhelmingly includes Department of Justice 
objections to state and local voting rules changes under 
Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, Section 2 cases, and cases 
in which a jurisdiction may have stopped defending the case 
after the district court level. Department of Justice Section 5 
objections are just that, and not official determinations by a 
court of ultimate jurisdiction that a state or locality 
actually did something illegal under any of the currently valid 
other portions of the Voting Rights Act that apply nationwide. 
Section 2 cases can continue to be brought today, so such cases 
don't demonstrate the need to amend the Voting Rights Act. And 
cases in which a jurisdiction may have stopped defending the 
case after the district court level may simply indicate the 
jurisdiction couldn't afford to continue appealing the case up 
to a higher court, where the jurisdiction may ultimately have 
won if it could have afforded to.
    The power given to the Attorney General under H.R. 4 is 
striking. The bill provides that a violation of a voting rights 
law has been committed as long as no appeals court has 
overturned a lower court's determination. The way the process 
oftentimes works in practice is that the Department of Justice 
uses its vast resources to effectively coerce localities into 
settling voting rights violation claims, or abandoning their 
defenses of their voting rules prior to exhausting their 
appeals. Faced with the prospect of spending potentially 
hundreds of thousands of dollars to successfully litigate a 
case to final victory, many localities simply fold and agree to 
admit to a violation, or to stop defending themselves, just to 
avoid the costly litigation (which nearly always includes 
massive requests for the production of documents from the 
localities). Even states find these cases enormously expensive, 
not only because of the document production they involve, but 
because of the expert witnesses who must be tasked with parsing 
all manner of statistics alleged to prove one statistically 
disparate impact or other. Whenever a state or locality is 
pressured into settling a case, or if they cannot afford to 
appeal a lower court decision, that would count as a ``final 
judgment'' under the bill and count as a strike against them 
counting toward coverage.
    This dynamic of the Justice Department's coercing 
settlements threatens to increasingly politicize the process 
under the bill. For example, under the proposal the Justice 
Department could flood states and localities with voting rights 
violation claims just to see which ones enter into settlements 
or stop defending themselves. Then, the Justice Department 
could look to see which states come closest to the ``ten 
strikes'' threshold under the bill and focus their resources on 
getting ``over the top'' within the 25-year time frame.
    One need only look to a previous hearing on this issue to 
know that H.R. 4 creates a system in which voting laws will be 
politicized at the Department of Justice. In Davis v. Guam, the 
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals considered Guam's decision to 
restrict voting on a certain plebiscite to ``Native Inhabitants 
of Guam,'' thereby excluding from the right to vote anyone who 
wasn't a ``Native Inhabitant of Guam.''\8\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\Opinion, Davis v. Guam, No. 17-15719, D.C. No. 1:11-cv-00035 
(9th Cir. July 29, 2019), available at http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/
datastore/opinions/2019/07/29/17-15719.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    That shockingly discriminatory voter registration form is 
pictured here:

              [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


    As determined by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, ``our 
obligation is to apply established Fifteenth Amendment 
principles, which single out voting restrictions based on race 
as impermissible whatever their justification. Just as a law 
excluding the Native Inhabitants of Guam from a plebiscite on 
the future of the Territory could not pass constitutional 
muster, so the 2000 Plebiscite Law fails for the same reason.'' 
That blatantly unconstitutional act of racial voting 
discrimination was challenged in court by a private citizen, a 
retired service member. The Trump Justice Department was 
willing to help Major Davis in his case against Guam, but no 
one in the Obama Justice Department lifted a finger to defend 
him. Nor did any of the other groups assembled at the hearing--
the NAACP, the ACLU, the Leadership Conference on Civil 
Rights--do anything about it. Vanita Gupta was a witness at 
that hearing. She is the current head of the Leadership 
Conference on Civil Rights, and was the head of the U.S. 
Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division during the time 
this racial discrimination in voting occurred. At the hearing 
reference above she was asked by Mr. Cline, very simply, 
``would you agree that that type of discriminatory election [in 
Guam] is unacceptable in the Twenty-First Century in the United 
States?'' Ms. Gupta could only reply ``I unfortunately cannot 
speak to a matter that was under investigation during my full 
tenure in the Justice Department.''\9\ That speaks volumes 
about how politicized the Department of Justice can be, and how 
biased it can be when selectively enforcing what are supposed 
to be universal principles.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \9\Voting Discrimination: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Const., 
C.R., & C.L., 116 Cong. 109 (2019) (Statement of Rep. Benjamin Cline), 
available at https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4815813/answer.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    H.R. 4 also contains a requirement that certain election 
laws automatically be subject to preclearance. Found in Section 
4A of H.R. 4, this ``practice-based preclearance'' would apply 
nationwide and would automatically cover election law changes 
such as modifying jurisdictional boundaries, voter 
qualification laws (including voter ID laws), and changes 
regarding bilingual ballot procedures.
    Also, Section 3(a) of the bill, creating a new section 4(b) 
of the VRA, provides that preclearance applies ``to a State and 
all political subdivisions'' if 15 or more voting rights 
violations occur by the State or any of its political 
subdivision over a 25-year period. That means that all 
political subdivisions within a state can become subject to 
preclearance based solely on other political subdivisions' 
violations, and the state itself can become subject to 
preclearance based solely on violations in certain political 
subdivisions. That is so even when political subdivisions have 
no control over and can't be held responsible for the actions 
of other political subdivisions, which may be under the control 
of a different political party.
    Proponents of H.R. 4 argue that victims of voting 
discrimination should not have to spend their time and money to 
go to court first to have their claims decided. However, both 
Section 3's preclearance provisions and H.R. 4's preclearance 
provisions require litigation prior to the preclearance process 
going into effect. Indeed, Section 3 preclearance requirements 
can be obtained after litigating just a single case. The H.R. 4 
preclearance process, by contrast, will require much more 
litigation before it can be triggered. Of course, H.R. 4 also 
requires certain types of voting laws to be subject to 
preclearance without any prior showing of discrimination of any 
kind.
    Existing law already protects Americans from voting 
discrimination: Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act allows 
lawsuits, even those based on disparate impacts, to stop State 
and local voting laws, including through preliminary 
injunctions; and Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act allows 
federal judges across the country to put jurisdictions under 
preclearance requirements when those jurisdictions have a 
record of actual discrimination in voting.
    In sum, H.R. 4 unconstitutionally creates a system in which 
a politicized Department of Justice can federalize control over 
State and local elections when there is no evidence the State 
or locality engaged in actual discriminatory conduct.
            Signed,
                                   Doug Collins.
                                   Mike Johnson (LA).

                                Appendix




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