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This week I had a phone conversation with a vice chair of the Florida Democratic Party, and we discussed more details of our 2013-2014 voter registration campaign. OFA took the lead on voter registration in the last cycle, but they are now Organizing for Action and can no longer participate directly in political campaigns, so state Democratic Party organizations are taking over that role. We also discussed Gov. Rick Scott’s decision to renew Florida’s voter purge in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby v. Holder, striking down Section 4 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
We were both encouraged by Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to have the DOJ intervene in a lawsuit filed against Texas under Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act. If the plaintiffs prevail in that lawsuit, Texas will again have to submit voting law changes for to the DOJ for pre-clearance. Dozens of cities and counties around the U.S. must still submit voting law changes for DOJ pre-clearance, having been ‘bailed in’ by Section 3 lawsuits. I expect similar lawsuits will be filed in Florida, North Carolina, and other states that attempt to limit voting rights. We may well find that aggressive DOJ action in Section 3 cases will replace the fixed Section 4 formula, enabling the DOJ to continue to protect voting rights across the nation.