In the last Presidential election those states dominated by Republicans engaged in numerous voter suppression tactics in counties with large Democratic voter populations. Some techniques used to suppress voter turnout were picture identification cards, limited polling places with shorter hours to discourage those with unaccommodating jobs or requirements of prior registration instead of registration at the time of voting thus requiring two trips to qualify to vote and numerous other measures to limit voting to those usually favorable  to Republican candidates.

Voter suppression was a continuing process even after the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified in 1870.  States would enact or registrars would require unnecessary acts or procedures to suppress voting usually aimed at Blacks but others also. The procedure to challenge the new requirements was to file suit to obtain an injunction to block the tactic until a court decided if it was constitutional under the Fifteenth Amendment. This was costly and time consuming and the perpetrators, when they lost, would change to slightly different requirements with the same effect in the next election so the whole process would begin again.

However the Voting Rights Act Of 1965 was passed and Section 5 required certain states and counties to  be  precleared by the Justice department before they changed their voting requirements. Thus eliminating court cases and unclogging  the courts. Section 4 set forth the coverage formula for localities subject to preclearance.  In Shelby County  v. Holder the Supreme Court struck down the preclearance formula as being outdated and not relevant to current circumstances in the localities covered   and therefore an unconstitutional impediment on state sovereignty  even though the formula was last reviewed and reenacted by Congress in 2006.

The early consequences of the decision can be seen by the fact that localities covered by the preclearance requirement have enacted voter I.D. laws which now must be litigated through the courts. Most of the jurisdictions subject to preclearance are in the South and the Federal Appellate Courts there tend to be more conservative than Northern or Western Appellate Courts. Thus there will be lengthy (especially were injunctions  not granted) and costly court battles to determine the constitutionality of theses voting changes as they arise.

The fall out  from this is that in the swing states  like Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and others where presidential election results are decided by a narrow margin of votes between Democrats and Republicans will be much closer or even become Republican in the Presidential Election of 2016. Thus Shelby will make a difference in the next election and states that went for Obama in 2012 may be more likely go for the Republican candidate in 2016 when  two non incumbents will be seeking office. Thus the true voter preference will not be reflected because of voter suppression. Also there is a greater likelyhood that the winner will have the  necessary electoral votes and the loser will have the majority of the popular vote greatening an absurdity.

This ruling in Shelby County is  another conservative incursion into Presidential politics after Bush v. Gore. It was written by  Justice John Roberts and affirmed by  Justices Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas and  Alito . All Republican appointees just as the decision in Bush v. Gore was all affirmed by Republican appointees. Shelby was also a 5 to 4 decision along party lines. A dissent was written by Justice Ginsburg along with Breyer, Sotomayer and Kagan all Democratic appointees.  Ginsburg also dissented in Bush v. Gore along with Stevens, Breyer and Souter.