WASHINGTON - The Justice Department today announced a new E-Submission program by the Civil Rights Division that is designed to improve the administration of the Voting Rights Act. This new program will ease the process by which jurisdictions submit voting changes for administrative review under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act by enabling them to do so online.
Under the Voting Rights Act, certain states and localities are required to submit all changes in their voting processes to federal court in the District of Columbia or to the Justice Department for review to ensure that the changes are not retrogressive or intentionally discriminatory with respect to race, national origin, or language. All or parts of 16 states are subject to the preclearance process, including the entire states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas; and parts of California, Florida, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Virginia. The Department has 60 days to complete its review of the proposed changes. Previously, the submissions had to be mailed or faxed, or in many cases, sent by express mail.
Through the E-Submission program, Section 5 jurisdictions now have a secure, online environment in which to file their submissions. The online system will ensure that the Department obtains the information necessary to review the voting change expeditiously, resulting in an easier, faster process for both the submitting officials and the Department. This new program will also facilitate the sharing of submitted information with local citizens and groups who may have an interest in a submission. By streamlining the process, E-Submissions will give Department staff more time to review the changes at issue and to reach out to affected community members and local officials. Jurisdictions are still able to send their submissions through the traditional paper-based methods should they choose to do so.
The Civil Rights Division is committed to enforcing our nationís voting laws. The new E-Submission program is an important effort of improving the enforcement of the Section 5 submission process to ensure a more efficient system.