increased black registration and voting seemed almost limitless.

Section Five of the Act is designed to meet this challenge,
to protect the integrity of the black vote from efforts to dilute
black voting strength by changing rules rather than to deny blacks
the vote altogether.

In recent years we have seen attempts to deny black representa-
tion on both local and state levels through devices such as:

1. a change from ward to at-large electoral districts
2. majority rather than plurality requirements for
multi-member bodies
3. annexation or consolidation, with or without direct
election law changes (as in Petersburg, Virginia in 1973)
4. gerrymandering in reapportionment
5. creation of multi-member legislative districts with
at-large voting (as in North Carolina, Texas and
other states)
6. a re-registration requirement for voters after every
re-districting (as in Mississippi in 1971)

These examples do not exhaust the variety of attempted electoral
law changes in southern jurisdiction, but they are among those
more frequently tried.

In light of these efforts to dilute the black vote, three
further points must be made regarding executive enforcement. First,
Section Five of the Voting Rights Act provides an antidote to
such structural abuses as those just mentioned. Thorough review
of election law changes can prevent new forms of discrimination.

Notes and Questions

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BettyJoyce Nash

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