According to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) today, the DOJ has granted a request by the City of Falls Church that it be exempted from provisions of the Voting Rights Act that apply generally to Virginia and other states where federal law requires DOJ oversight of voting laws to ensure protection from discrimination.
The development, which has been granted to other individual jurisdictions in Virginia and other Voting Rights Act states on a case-by-case basis, “will allow for the City, a covered jurisdiction under the special provisions of the Voting Rights Act, to bail out from coverage under those provisions,” according to the DOJ statement.
The City and its school system are thus exempted from “the preclearance requirements of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.” Today’s action took the form of a consent decree filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, where it awaits that court’s approval.
A bailout judgment can be issued if the court determines that a jurisdiction meets certain eligibility requirements, including a 10-year record of nondiscrimination in voting-related actions.
The City of Falls Church filed its bailout action in the U.S. District Court in D.C. on Feb. 13, 2013.