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Three California Counties Affected By Voting Rights Act Decision

The United States Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act revolves around a county in Alabama. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, several counties in California will be affected too.

Photo by Art Lien

An artist's sketch of the scene during a U.S. Supreme Court hearing earlier this year.

Yuba, Monterey and Kings counties in California must currently get approval from the federal government for any election law changes. But they could get some relief under the new US Supreme Court decision. It orders Congress to change the formula for determining which jurisdictions require oversight.

Loyola Law School Professor Jessica Levinson says the issues in the California counties date back to the 1972 presidential election.

“They had voter registration or voter turnout problems, which happens even in states where people think, 'well, they don’t have history of voter discrimination at all,'" Levinson said.

The counties all had voter turnout levels less than 50 percent. They maintain their large military populations artificially depressed turnout, which Levinson said is a possibility.

She said Congress must now act to change its formula, though she said it may take awhile.

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