Voting Rights Act of 1965

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Although renewal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is necessary in 2007 in order to extend the Act for another 25 years, the bill was pulled June 21, 2006, when House Republican leaders were "forced" to pull it "in the face of strong opposition from their own members," The Hill reported June 22, 2006.

House Republican leaders "complained it unfairly singles out nine Southern states for federal oversight," the Associated Press's Laurie Kellman wrote. [1]

"The shift came after a private House GOP caucus meeting earlier [in the day] in which several Republicans also balked at extending provisions in the law that require ballots to be printed in more than one language in neighborhoods where there are large numbers of immigrants, said several participants," Kellman wrote. [2]

"The four-decade-old law enfranchised millions of black voters by ending poll taxes and literacy tests during the height of the civil rights struggle. A vote on renewing it for another 25 years had been scheduled for Wednesday, [June 21st] with both Republican and Democratic leaders behind it." On May 10, 2006, the "legislation was approved by the Judiciary Committee on a 33-1 vote. But despite leadership support, controversy has shadowed the legislation 40 years after it first prohibited policies that blocked blacks from voting." [3]

The bill is the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006 (H.R. 9) (109th Congress) (Also see the May 22, 2006, Report that accompanied the bill, as well as Hearings on the bill.): "These include Section 5, which requires jurisdictions with a history of discrimination in voting to get federal approval of any new voting practices or procedures; Section 203, which ensures that American citizens with limited English proficiency get the help they need at the polls; and Sections 6-9, which authorize the attorney general to appoint federal election observers where there is evidence of attempts to intimidate minority voters at the polls." [4]

"'The speaker's had a standing rule that nothing would be voted on unless there's a majority of the majority,' said Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., who led the objections. 'It was pretty clear at the meeting that the majority of the majority wasn't there.' ... Several Republicans, led by Westmoreland, had worked to allow an amendment that would ease a requirement that nine states win permission from the Justice Department or a federal judge to change their voting rules.

"The amendment's backers say the requirement unfairly singles out and holds accountable nine states that practiced racist voting policies decades ago, based on 1964 voter turnout data: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia." [5]

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