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by David F. Walbert

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed with the broad purpose of remedying voting discrimination that had been practiced principally in the southern states. The Act contained a variety of procedural mechanisms that were devised to give the federal government and private litigants the means to ensure that African-Americans could register to vote, and vote without discrimination. At the time, the key provision of the Act was perceived to be the ban on state literacy tests and “understanding or interpretation” tests that served as an alternative way of qualifying voters who were illiterate.

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