Under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, more than a dozen U.S. states that had a history of racial discrimination in 1972 are still paying the price nearly 40 years later. Arizona says that’s unconstitutional, and its Attorney General has filed suit against the federal government to invalidate what he calls “an irrational system” that hasn’t given states credit for the progress they have made.

For the affected states, Section 5 of the Act requires federal government pre-approval for any changes in state election laws, and also for redistricting decisions.

According to Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, those pre-approval requirements are no longer necessary or constitutional.

“Arizona has been subjected to enforcement actions for problems that were either corrected nearly 40 years ago and have not been repeated or penalized for alleged violations that have no basis in the Constitution,” said Horne, a Republican, who filed the suit Thursday.


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