The Voting Rights Act, which enjoyed strong bipartisan support for nearly a half-century, divided senators along party lines Wednesday as they debated whether minority voters still face enough threats to warrant updating the landmark law. Democrats, led by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont, said attempts to undermine minority voters remain pervasive, even if they’re less blatant than the tactics used when the law first passed in 1965. “Since 2010, 22 states have passed new voting restrictions that make it more difficult to vote,” Leahy said, citing a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice. “Of the 11 states with the highest African-American turnout in 2008, seven of those have new restrictions in place.”
Republicans countered that the Voting Rights Act still includes plenty of safeguards against voting discrimination, even after the Supreme Court threw out a key provision a year ago.
So far, no Republican senator has endorsed legislation to restore that provision, which required certain jurisdictions with a history of voting discrimination to get advance approval — or “pre-clearance” — from U.S. Justice Department officials before making any changes to their election procedures.
Full Article: GOP senators oppose voting law update.