A. The Nonblack Minority

The country has undoubtedly seen considerable advances in black participation in the electoral process since 1965. This does not mean, however, that section 5 is irrelevant; a careful reading of the VRA plainly reveals that section 5 protects not only black southerners but also minorities generally. Congress's intention to bring other minority groups within the protection of section 5 seems logical in light of the growth of such groups and is evident from the 1975 amendments to the VRA, which added English-only ballots to the list of prohibited tests and devices if such ballots were administered in jurisdictions with over 5% language-minority populations. And while the nation may largely have been viewed as black and white in 1965, today's census paints a different picture. The table below illustrates the U.S. population as of 2010 broken down by race and, to some extent, ethnicity:


Of no small significance is the fact that the Hispanic/Latino population surpassed the black population in terms of national composition, at 16.3% and 12.6%, respectively. In contrast, the 1960 Census did not even provide a category for Hispanic/Latino self-identification. And while the black population has stayed fairly constant since 1960, at which point 10.5% of the population was black, the Asian population has jumped from 0.5% to 4.8%--rendering it the fastest-growing race group between 2000 and 2010. The U.S. Census Bureau noted upon publication of the 2000 Census data that [t]he federal government considers race and Hispanic origin to be two separate and distinct concepts. Accordingly, the 2000 Census was amended to include a separate opportunity for citizens to self-identify as Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino. If the 16.3% of citizens who identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino in 2010 were subtracted from the white population, then only 56.1% of the United States population would have been white as of 2010, as compared to 88.6% in 1960.