Washington Law Review


Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act requires governing entities implementing any new practices "with respect to voting" to first permit such changes to be scrutinized for discriminatory effects. In Presley v. Etowah County Commission, the United States Supreme Court held that a county government's restructuring of power among commissioners did not require scrutiny because the restructuring did not constitute a change with respect to voting. This Note examines Presley and concludes that the Court's decision ignored precedent, created an unreasonable test and misapplied the test. To ensure effective enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, the Court should adopt a two-pronged inquiry that considers discriminatory motive as a factor. Given the Court's reluctance to give the Act its intended broad meaning, Congress should amend the statute to include a broader definition of voting practices.

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