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H.R. 3899 (113th): Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

1/16/2014--Introduced. Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 - Amends the Voting Rights Act of 1965 with respect to the requirement that a federal court retain jurisdiction for an appropriate period to prevent commencement of new devices to deny or abridge the right to vote. Expands the types of violations triggering the authority of a court to retain such jurisdiction to include certain violations of the Act as well as violations of any federal voting rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or membership in a language minority group.

Excludes from the list of violations triggering jurisdiction retention authority any voting qualification or prerequisite which results in a denial or abridgement of the right to vote that is based on the imposition of a requirement that an individual provide a photo identification as a condition of receiving a ballot for voting in a federal, state, or local election.

Revises requirements for determining which states and political subdivisions are covered or not covered by criteria for declaratory judgments that they have not used devices to deny or abridge the right to vote.

Subjects to the requirements for making such a determination any state (and all of its political subdivisions) during a calendar if 5 or more voting rights violations occurred in the state during the previous 15 years, at least one of which was committed by the state itself (as opposed to a political subdivision within it).

Specifies application of such new coverage requirements to any specific political subdivision if: (1) 3 or more voting rights violations occurred in it during the previous 15 calendar years; or (2) 1 or more voting rights violations occurred in it during the previous 15 calendar years and the subdivision had persistent, extremely low minority turnout during that period.

Provides that, if a state obtains a declaratory judgment that it has not used a device to deny or abridge the right to vote, the requirements for a new declaratory judgment generally will not apply, unless the new coverage requirements of this Act apply to the state solely on the basis of voting rights violations occurring after the declaratory judgment was issued.

Prescribes transparency requirements, including reasonable public notice, regarding any changes to: (1) voting prerequisites, standards, or procedures; (2) polling place resources; or (3) demographics and electoral districts.

Modifies authority to assign observers, including authorizing the assignment of observers to enforce bilingual election requirements.

Revises requirements for injunctive relief, including its scope and the persons authorized to seek relief as well as the grounds for granting it.