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Shelby County, Alabama: the supplemental briefing

The Birmingham News reports: A decision on whether key sections of the Voting Rights Act remain constitutional 47 years after it was passed may hinge on whether it was appropriate for Congress not to update which parts of the country still need close federal oversight of their elections.

Although the lawyers finished arguing the case earlier this month, the federal judge asked for more written comments on the specific issue of coverage formula, or the method used in 1965 to determine which states were the worst threats to minority voting rights.

It signals that U.S. District Judge John Bates is focused on Shelby County's contention that the law's 2006 renewal by Congress is invalid because it relied on outdated voting data.

Shelby County sued the U.S. Justice Department, alleging that Congress did not have enough evidence to warrant a 25-year extension of the law that requires all or part of 16 states -- including Alabama -- to ask permission before making any voting-related changes. The Alabama case is widely viewed as a contender to return the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court. -- Read the whole story --> Shelby County's lawsuit over the Voting Rights Act could turn on 2006 renewal | al.com

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