This is from a TED talks by Bryan Stevenson (Link to talk).

He says:

"We're actually projecting in another 10 years the level of disenfranchisement will be as high as it's been since prior to the passage of the Voting Rights Act."

My questions are as follows:

  1. Is there a such thing as "since prior to" in English language?

  2. In my opinion, it seems to make more sense if "it's been since prior to" is changed into "it used to be prior to".

I'm wondering if the speaker made some grammatical errors, for every single line cannot be perfectly congruent with the grammar as long as it is being verbally delivered.

  • 1
    It's grammatical, but awkward. It would sound more natural if you replaced prior to with before. Commented Nov 24, 2019 at 7:19

1 Answer 1


It's perfectly fine.

As high as it's been since implies As high as it's been at any time since - this is a stronger claim than your paraphrase.

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