Democrats and civil rights groups hope the fight to restore a key provision of the Voting Rights Act will boost turnout among minority voters this year, particularly in the South. “We’re going to do some things to raise the profile of the Voting Rights Act and the fact that the Supreme Court gutted it,” said Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Democrat from Louisiana. “You will see us be more active. We tried to do it in a very bipartisan manner … But it just doesn’t seem like that’s going to go far enough soon enough, so it’s going to be a fight.” Richmond is among those working to pass legislation that would revive a section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court threw out last year. The bill’s supporters are making their case at press conferences, town halls and in newspapers — online and in print — to mobilize voters. The issue will be the focus of several panels at the Congressional Black Caucus’ annual legislative convention in Washington this week.
A coalition of civil rights and voting rights groups recently collected more than 500,000 online signatures for a petition calling on Congress to act. Coalition members said they tried to present the petition to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, last week but found his Capitol Hill office locked.
“They cannot punt this football forever,” Rep. Linda Sánchez, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Hispanic Congressional Caucus Task Force on Civil Rights, said of Republicans. “Every day that Congress fails to act, voters are in danger.”
Advocates acknowledge the measure stands little chance of passing before the November midterm elections. The House returns next week, but the Senate will be out until after the elections.
Full Article: Voting rights battle could aid minority turnout.