By Christina Nuckols
For many Americans, the prospect of tampering with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is unthinkable.
“I reflect back on what it took to get that done,” said Roanoke Councilman Sherman Lea. “It’s very sacred.”
But legal challenges seeking to undermine a key provision of the law may reach the U.S. Supreme Court. Justices were scheduled to meet Friday and discuss whether they will hear the case. That decision was still up in the air as I wrote this column.
The landmark civil rights legislation requires state and local governments with a history of racial discrimination to obtain permission from the U.S. Department of Justice or a federal court before making changes to voting rules. Virginia is one of nine states covered by the law because of its past use of literacy tests and other tactics to suppress voter turnout.
Nuckols is editorial page editor of The Roanoke Times.