Yuba County still under federal Voting Rights Act because of Beale
Yuba County's far from the southern US, but federal laws aimed at preventing odious practices there from a century ago are why the preclearance requirement exists.
As part of civil rights legislation in the 1960s, the Voting Rights Act helped identify places where because of a large disparity in the voting-age population and who was registered to vote, disenfranchisement could be happening.
At the time, Yuba and three other California counties had relatively small populations and a large military presence, meaning many "locals" were still registered to vote back home or at other bases.
Still, the county got slapped with the preclearance requirement, and ever since, officials at both the county and smaller government agencies within it have to get the federal stamp of approval before changing a polling place, for example, or annexing land.
Yuba County has tried, and so far failed, to get the preclearance requirement removed.
However, federal court rulings have allowed government agencies within a county to make the case, as several did about a year ago.
Olivehurst Public Utility District General Manager Tim Shaw said in his agency's current bid to get the requirement waived, district officials discovered an appointment, such as for a vacant director position, also would fall under the requirement.
Because of the cost involved in getting preclearance each time, he said, it's more cost effective to pursue the waiver option.