Justice Can Further Improve Its Monitoring of Changes in State/Local Voting Laws

Gao ID: GGD-84-9 December 19, 1983

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the manner in which the Department of Justice has enforced section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, as amended, and provided a status report on steps taken to correct the problems identified in an earlier GAO report.

The act was designed to prevent practices that deny U.S. citizens belonging to racial or language minorities their right to vote and otherwise participate in the electoral process equally with other citizens. GAO found that Justice has consistently applied the discriminatory purpose or effect analysis in making preclearance, objection, and withdrawal decisions under section 5 of the act, and its decisions have been made in accordance with existing legal standards and established procedures. GAO found that, since the issuance of the prior report, Justice has made numerous changes to improve its administration and enforcement of the act, including: (1) issuing revised guidelines to covered jurisdictions; (2) defining more clearly the role of paralegals; (3) streamlining its management and administrative processes; (4) improving its computerized database and increasing its use in the management process; and (5) performing preclearance reviews in a timely manner. However, GAO believes that areas still exist which require further attention to enhance enforcement of the act and ensure that the rights of language minorities are not hindered.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

Director: Arnold P. Jones Team: General Accounting Office: General Government Division Phone: (202) 512-7797

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