In the time since the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act, southern states have closed nearly 1,200 polling places, The Hill reported this week.
After the high court’s 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision — which eliminated the requirement that jurisdictions with a history of discrimination obtain federal approval before making changes to voting rules that would affect minorities — at least 1,173 polling locations have been shuttered in those jurisdictions.
The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights detailed the closings in a report released on Tuesday, The Hill reported.
During testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, the group’s president and CEO, Vanita Gupta, told Congress: “While there are justifiable reasons for closing polling places, the sheer scale of closures we have identified since Shelby coupled with other stark efforts to deny voting rights to people of color demand a response.”
A total of about 860 counties and county-level equivalents had been affected by the provision of the Voting Rights Act that is now gone. The most polling places closed in the past several years were located in Texas, Arizona and George, according to the report.