ADC Supports Congressional Efforts to Reauthorize the Voting Rights Act

ADC Press Release:
October 26, 2005
Washington, DC –The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) supports Congressional efforts to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Hearings are scheduled to take place this week.
“Reauthorization of the VRA is essential to our democracy. The VRA has deterred local election changes that could potentially discriminate against and disenfranchise minorities,” said ADC President Mary Rose Oakar. Oakar, a former member of Congress, added, “As Congress reviews the VRA it must clarify, make stronger, and restore key provisions set to expire.”
The VRA is one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation in America‘s history. The VRA was signed into law in 1965 by President Johnson. Key temporary provisions (Sections 5 and 203) of the VRA are set to expire in 2007, unless they are renewed by Congress. These sections concern bilingual ballots, federal election observers, and the requirement to obtain federal pre-approval for electoral changes.
The hearings by the House Judiciary Committee’s panel on the Constitution will asses whether strides in anti-discrimination efforts are enough to remove a VRA requirement stipulating that states, many in the South, with a history of discriminatory practices need federal approval before changing their voting laws.
ADC actively educates Arab Americans about their responsibility to participate in America‘s democracy by voting in local, state and federal elections. Arab Americans, like so many other ethnic groups, have faced challenges to equal and fair access to voting.

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