Media Advisory: Politics professor available for comment: Supreme Court’s decision on Voting Rights Act

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision invalidating a provision of the Voting Rights Act has several implications for North Carolina, according to John Dinan, professor of politics and international affairs at Wake Forest University.

Dinan says:

“Under the Act’s current coverage formula, 40 of the 100 counties in North Carolina are required to obtain permission from the Justice Department or a federal court before implementing any changes related to voting and elections. In the Piedmont area, for instance, Guilford County is a covered jurisdiction; but Forsyth County is not covered.  The Supreme Court held that this coverage formula, which was first designed in 1965 and then adjusted on several occasions in later years, cannot pass constitutional muster. Unless and until Congress revises the law to provide an updated coverage formula tailored to current voter registration and turnout rates, previously covered counties and states are no longer required to seek federal permission before making elections changes.

Another provision of the Voting Rights Act that is unaffected by today’s decision still allows lawsuits to be brought against counties or states for racially discriminatory elections laws or practices; but there is no longer any requirement that covered states or counties seek federal permission prior to implementing elections changes.”

Dinan teaches courses on Congress, state politics, and campaigns and elections. He is the author of The American State Constitutional Tradition and writes an annual review of constitutional developments in the 50 states.

About Wake Forest University
Wake Forest University combines the best traditions of a small liberal arts college with the resources of a large research university. Founded in 1834, the school is located in Winston-Salem, N.C. The University’s graduate school of arts and sciences, divinity school, and nationally ranked schools of law, medicine and business enrich our intellectual environment. Learn more about Wake Forest University at

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