Gov. Deval Patrick and other top Massachusetts Democrats are criticizing the Supreme Court's ruling on the landmark Voting Rights Act.

    The justices ruled 5-4 Tuesday that a key provision of the law cannot be enforced unless Congress creates an up-to-date formula for deciding which states and localities still need federal monitoring.

    Patrick called the decision ``disappointing.'' He said many areas of the country are moving to limit access to the ballot and that politics is still ``racially polarized'' in states covered by the provision in the law.

    U.S. Sen. William ``Mo'' Cowan and U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III also criticized the decision.

    Cowan said the ruling ``turned back years of progress'' on expanding voter access.

    Kennedy said the decision ignores persistent discrimination. He said Congress must use the setback to strengthen the voting act.  (Associated Press)