Of the four categories of changes in rules governing voting we have recognized to date, there is not even an arguable basis for saying that adoption of the Unit System fits within any of the first three. Because the county commission retains substantial authority, including the power to appoint the county engineer and set his or her budget, this Court need not consider whether an otherwise uncovered enactment might under some circumstances rise to the level of a de facto replacement of an elected office with an appointive one, within the Bunton rule. Patterson, involved a statute which provided that officials who in previous years had been elected would be appointed. Even upon the assumption the assumption we reject in this case that some transfers of power among government officials could be changes with respect to voting as that term is used in the Act, we disagree with the District Court's test. The test adopted by the District Court does not provide the workable rule we seek.
But whether the changes are of procedure or substance, each has a direct relation to voting and the election process. Aware of the consequences of its decision, the Court gave its broad reading of the Act "only prospective effect. B We turn next to the background of the Russell County Commission. The change in Russell County does not prohibit voters "from electing an officer formerly subject to their approval. As in other contexts in which we defer to an administrative interpretation of a statute, we do so only if Congress has not expressed its intent with respect to the question, and then only if the administrative interpretation is reasonable. See Chevron, supra, U. To be sure, reasonable minds may differ as to whether some particular changes in the law of a covered jurisdiction should be classified as changes in rules governing voting. Following the implementation of the court order, each of the three rural commissioners had individual authority over his own road shop, road crew, and equipment. Constant minor adjustments in the allocation of power among state and local officials serve this elemental purpose. Williams, which involve candidacy requirements and qualifications. Our decision, and its rationale, have proven sound, and we adhere to both. It does so because it fears that such a rule creates line-drawing problems and moves too far afield from "voting. Absent relevant intervening changes, the Act requires us to use practices in existence on November 1, , as our standard of comparison. They had no impact on the substantive question whether a particular office would be elective or the procedural question how an election would be conducted. Prior to the Court's decision in Allen v. The remaining case, Bunton v. The fact that the intrusive mechanisms of the Act do not apply to other forms of pernicious discrimination does not undermine its utility in combating the specific evils it was designed to address. Presley was to oversee maintenance of the county courthouse and Williams the operation of the engineering department. Patterson resulted in a change from single-district voting to at-large voting. Neither change involves a new "voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting. B We next consider Russell County's adoption of the Unit System and its concomitant transfer of operations to the county engineer. That sphere comprehends all changes to rules governing voting, changes effected through any of the mechanisms described in the statute. Williams, there were changes in the requirements for independent candidates running in general elections. The three rural commissioners also had individual authority for road and bridge repair and construction within their separate residency districts. Of the four categories of changes in rules governing voting we have recognized to date, there is not even an arguable basis for saying that adoption of the Unit System fits within any of the first three. Indeed, congressional comments quoted in our opinion in Perkins v.
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