09 November 2005

Groups to Congress: Undo Part of Voter Law

Jeffrey McMurray, AP - Nov 9, 2005

Civil rights activists argued Wednesday that a 2-year-old Supreme Court decision largely wiped out 40 years of progress minorities have made under the Voting Rights Act.

Officials with the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People were among those who asked a House panel to renew a key portion of the law but include a provision that would essentially undo a verdict pertaining to Georgia redistricting.

"It clearly shows the schizophrenic, dichotomized mind-set this nation clearly has in terms of extending voting rights and then taking them back," Rep. David Scott D-Ga., said of the Georgia v. Ashcroft decision.

At issue before the House Judiciary Committee's panel on the Constitution is a section of the Voting Rights Act that expires in 2007. It requires states with a history of racial discrimination to get federal government approval before changing their voting laws. Redistricting cases spark the most legal challenges, particularly when minorities can prove that a new map gives them less of a chance at electing candidates they prefer.


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