The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a constitutional challenge to a key component of the Voting Rights Act, the main federal law for ensuring access to the polls by minorities.
The justices, acting Friday, say they will review a lower court ruling upholding a provision of the Voting Rights Act that requires all or parts of 16 states with a history of racial discrimination, most in the South, to get approval before implementing any changes in the way elections are held.
Mississippi and Alabama are among those states which must get federal approval even to move the location of a voting precinct.
In 2006, Congress voted overwhelmingly to extend the measure for another 25 years. The law was designed to prevent governments from making it harder for minorities to vote.