Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) is pushing his Democratic colleagues to strengthen the protections for minorities in their proposed update to the Voting Rights Act. Begich said the bill introduced in the Senate by Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) does not do enough for minority voters, especially native populations in Alaska. Begich expressed concern that Alaska would not have to clear voting procedure changes with the federal government under the bill. A transparency provision that requires notice of voting changes is little consolation, he said. “This is cold comfort considering that the burden is entirely on the voter to find out about such changes,” he said in a letter to Leahy.
Native Alaskans are a key constituency for Begich, who is facing reelection in a red-leaning state this year. He said it is important to protect these groups who have been historically discriminated against.
“Many Alaska Native elders remember not so long ago when there were signs in our state capital distinctively marking, ‘No Dogs and No Natives allowed’ on community buildings and storefronts,” he said.
He said he plans to introduce an amendment to Leahy’s bill that would address his concerns.
Full Article: Dem senator: Voting rights bill too weak | TheHill.