Georgia is one of nine states that – until Tuesday -- has had to get federal approval for election law changes. But Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. That includes the formula used to determine what states submit their changes.
Since 1965, the goal of that provision has been to ensure local and state governments don’t enforce rules that deter minority voting.
Michael Kang, a professor at Emory University’s law school who specializes in election law, says many are concerned that minorities in Georgia now will have a harder time getting elected.
But he says it may not matter as the state’s population changes.“We’re thinking long term here, but if you’ve got a lot of immigration among Latinos, you’ve got population growth among African-Americans. And they constitute a voting majority that votes together cohesively, that obviously changes the politics and makes section 5 just unimportant in the larger context.”
State Attorney General Sam Olens says when the Voting Rights Act was passed in the 1960’s, Georgia was among the states that discriminated against minority voters. But he says the ruling of the Supreme Court recognizes things have changed.
Check out the coversation between GPB's Ellen Reinhardt and Michael Kang on what the impact of the decision will be on Georgia.