Press Call Briefing: The Importance of the Bailout Provision of the Voting Rights Act

Categories: Press Releases

For Immediate Release
Contact: Shin Inouye, 202.869.0398,

WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, February 26 at 10:00 AM, the day before the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, the nation’s leading experts on the bailout provision of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) will brief reporters.

While the VRA protects voting rights nationwide, Section 5 is an enhanced enforcement designation used to combat discrimination in jurisdictions with persistent current and historical efforts to suppress minority voters.

The VRA rewards progress in these covered jurisdictions by allowing them to “bail out” or have their coverage under Section 5 terminated after achieving a clean record of nondiscriminatory voting practices for ten years.  This flexibility ensures that the geographic reach of Section 5 applies only to jurisdictions that continue efforts to discriminate in voting based on race. Not a single jurisdiction that has sought the opportunity to leave Section 5 coverage since 1982 has been turned down. 

The Supreme Court previously clarified the bailout provision in its ruling on NAMUDNO v. Holder in 2009. Since then, more than 125 jurisdictions have bailed out.

This telephonic press briefing will include ample question and answer time with the nation’s leading experts on bailout.



·         Julie Fernandes, Senior Policy Analyst for the Open Society Foundations and former deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Justice

·         Gerry Hebert, attorney to 174 bailed out jurisdictions and author of an amicus brief filed by jurisdictions that have bailed out

WHAT: Press call on the bailout provision of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in advance of Supreme Court argument in landmark case.

WHEN: Tuesday, February 26 at 10:00 AM EST

CALL-IN INFO: 866-952-1906, Verbal Passcode: “VRA”