Bill Would Revive the Voting Rights Act

Mike Lillis, The Hill, January 16, 2014

A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation Thursday that would restore the voting protections shot down by the Supreme Court last year.

Sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the proposal attempts to ensure voters’ rights by requiring certain regions with a recent history of racial discrimination to secure federal approval before changing their election rules.

The bill would reduce the number of states requiring federal pre-clearance from nine to four, leaving Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia still covered under that provision of the old law.

Leahy said the proposal to update the historic Voting Rights Act (VRA) strikes a delicate balance between safeguarding constitutional rights and providing states the freedom to enact tougher laws to fight abuse at the polls.

“The modernized VRA is constitutional and bipartisan. It includes strong, nationwide anti-discrimination protections and continues to permit states to enact reasonable voter ID laws,” Leahy said. “Therefore, it prevents racial-discrimination and gives states the ability to address voter fraud.”

Under the bill, states with five violations of constitutional voting protections or federal voting laws over the last 15 years would be forced to get pre-clearance from Washington before altering their election procedures.

Election violations that a court rules are discriminatory would be counted toward the five-violation tally, but a court would not have the power to “bail-in” states that aren’t already covered based solely on a discriminatory voter ID ruling.


In a sign that Democrats will likely sign on, House House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) endorsed the bill Thursday morning.


Still, the proposal has a difficult road ahead, as it essentially aims to identify which parts of the country are most likely to discriminate against minorities at the polls—a charged political question that’s certain to incite a spirited fight in an already fractured Congress.


The proposal is also taking some heat from the left, as some civil rights groups are already grumbling that the new coverage formula gives some states with tough new voting laws a free pass.


In a 5-4 decision last June, the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which required a number of states with a history of racial discrimination to get Washington’s approval before changing their voting rules. The law was last reauthorized with overwhelming bipartisan support in 2006, when Sensenbrenner headed the Judiciary Committee, but the formula dictating which states are subject to extra scrutiny is decades old.

Behind Chief Justice John Roberts, the Court’s conservative majority found that the formula dictating which states are subject to the extra hurdles—defined by Section 4 of the law—is outdated and therefore unconstitutional.


The Court did not invalidate Section 5 of the law, which empowers the federal government to require pre-clearance of voting changes for certain states and localities. But without a formula to determine which regions are subject to the extra scrutiny, Section 5 was effectively neutered.


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  • Jesse James

    Reconstruction 3 is picking up speed. Keep treating us like rebels and outlaws and see where we all end up. The south has more elected minorities than any other region of the country and it still isn’t enough. What’s next deny white with Confederate ancestors the right to vote?

    • Druid

      We’re going to defeat this stuff, just like those excellent men of that long ago south did. Keep the faith.

      • Alfred the Great

        We are a dying breed. I see it in some of my nieces, they aren’t going to carry on where we leave off. And their father is a conservative brother of mine. The schools, the media, the churches, etc., are propagating enslavement and the newer generations are buying into it hook, line, and sinker. I remember reading in Tacitus’s “Germania” that the Gauls lost their freedom (enslaved) under the guise of Roman civilization.

        • Druid

          Sir, yes, many young people are buying into this stuff, but when the welfare checks don’t arrive for a couple of months, the minorities, ie blacks will go stark raving mad. Of course, in the first rush, many of our young men and women will be caught flat footed and killed in an orgy of insanity. But once that first rush ends, our young people will show themselves up to taking care of business and settle accounts with the blacks forever. I know there’s something in them even now that questions what they’re being told. Once all this gets rolling, They will know what to do and do it.

          • Katherine McChesney

            The young white people I know have fallen for the belief that blacks are equal in every way to Whites. And they deny the criminality of blacks although they know that attacks on Whites have escalated. They believe what the press tells them, that education and white efforts will bring them out of the ‘slavery imposed’ inability to take responsibility for themselves. White realism to them is just a form of racism. The ones I know are incapable of thinking clearly about the true cause of black failures. That, and they refuse to do the research.

      • Garrett Brown

        I highly doubt that. Pretty sure we will continue to slowly die.

        • Nevsky

          I like to think that perhaps the destiny of my generation and successive ones lies somewhere in the middle of Alfred’s and Druid’s visions. We won’t reclaim America the way some optimists hope, but we will see to the survival of our people and ensure that a remnant remains.

          • Garrett Brown

            Yes, I think whites will create their own Israel and that’s about it.

  • Election year theatrics.

    The bill will go nowhere, and that’s what the Democrats introducing this want. They want to be able to whine and squeal to blacks et al. about “dem Weepublicans beez takin away yo’ vottun rights” in order to try to save the Senate for Harry Reid.

    • sbuffalonative

      I hope this is only political showboating by ‘bi-partisan’ members. That voting regulations apply differently to different states is a clear violation of equality before the law.

      • A point I made for some time about the VRA before SCOTUS’s ruling. It’s like saying the foreign espionage is a crime in Texas but not in Minnesota.

      • DonReynolds

        The supreme court was wrong to single out the eleven states of the “old Confederacy” for special punishment, a century after the Civil War. If the rest of the country hates the South that much, let’s call it splits. You stay on your side of the bed and we will stay on ours. Next step…..we leave their unwelcome bed and make our own elsewhere.

  • MekongDelta69

    How about we return to the “VRA” that existed before 1964?

  • Peter Connor

    The Republicans would have to be nuts to support this….oh wait!

    • NeanderthalDNA

      Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.)

      Sorry. I know the Repugnant party is every bit as sickening as the Demoncrats but…for some reason this sticks especially painfully in this former Demoncrat’s craw.

      One would hope that after an ideological epiphany there would exist a opposing force to that which one abandons…

      But not here, not now.

      • And he’s one of the best Republicans when it comes to immigration, is Sensenbrenner.

        • NeanderthalDNA

          That’s sobering. I could overlook so much I otherwise find distasteful if…

          I sensed some cojones…or anything beyond an utter soulless sell-out.

  • Erasmus

    Okay, someone tell me again why we shouldn’t break up the country.

    • Alfred the Great

      If I were the governor of the Greatest State of Texas, we would succeed immediately after I was sworn in.

      • Ella

        Too many Hispanics and nonwhites……..

        • DonReynolds

          Not for long.

      • D.B. Cooper

        I live in Texas. We still have too many illegal aliens, blacks, San Francisco fairies, Arabs and assorted middle easterners, and transplants from New York and California.

        • bilderbuster

          We have trains, planes, buses, you name it.
          They’re easy to identify & there would be plenty of volunteers to help round them up.

  • kjh64

    This bill is silly. Everybody has the right to vote and has had for a long time.

    • mobilebay

      kjh64, do you mean that literally?

  • Alfred the Great

    When are the States ever going to stand up for their rights and tell the feds to get bent!

    • Alexandra1973

      Ohio’s pretty much already told the feds to “get bent” because under our state constitution, you can’t be compelled to buy health insurance (Obamacare).

      It’s a start.

  • Spartacus

    Animals shouldn’t have the right to vote .

    • Alfred the Great

      I don’t want to upset too many people, but I will say it anyway. Women shouldn’t be allowed to vote either.

      • Spartacus

        I partially agree . I think a woman with 3 or more children should be allowed to vote, assuming she doesn’t have anything else against her (drug use, jail sentence, etc.)

        • Who Me?

          That just means that every Hispanic and every African American woman could vote…We REALLY want that, now don’t we?

          • Spartacus

            I’m talking in an ideal White nation .

      • itdoesnotmatter

        I would modify that somewhat.
        I consider myself an informed voter. Denying the vote to me, a race realist woman and conservative, would be a mistake.
        How about single welfare women with illegitimate children being denied the vote?
        Just as in days of yore, both men and women who fail a basic English literacy test should be denied the vote, as well as service on a jury duty.
        While we’re at it, drug screening for every welfare recipient. Fail a tox panel? No vote, no check for you.
        Vote ID required for all.

        • IstvanIN

          There should be qualifications for voting other than than breathing. The founders only wanted people who actually had a stake in the country’s future and survival to vote, which of course was primarily white male landowners. When you allow the stupid, the useless, and the lazy to vote what do you think you get? I can tell you, most NJ politicians.

          • itdoesnotmatter

            @Ivan: No! My qualifications as listed above would take care of that. No ignoramuses, loaf-abouts, druggies, felons, non-citizens, baby mamas, illegitimate children droppers or welfare mums need apply.

          • IstvanIN

            We largely agree.

        • dd121

          The left would say we’re all racists and just trying to suppress the black vote. Well, duh.

          • itdoesnotmatter

            Of course leftists would say that. If nothing else, they are predictable.

  • dd121

    “Bipartisan” means Democrats and Republican traitors. One more nail in the Republican coffin.

  • Ella

    And Texas being a minority-majority State has such race-bullies at the polls. (sarcasm) The Feds don’t want some White retiree to cancel out illegal Hispanic and Black voters who receives those entitlements. Cities and schools want their federal precious monies for their low income crowds.

  • Dave4088

    This is an absolute joke. Being asked to show some form of identification before casting a ballot is not discrimination. The Republicans who support this think idiotically think of themselves as high minded which will help them make inroads with blacks and browns.

    The Democrats are much more pragmatic and devious and know this will help facilitate voter fraud in the four states and turn Texas into a blue state and Democrat stronghold with its growing horde of mestizos.

    • emiledurk16

      Definitely Dave, ACORN….took that clandestine journalist to weed out those Commies of Color….although I think they morphed into something else under the radar.

  • Irishgirl

    New Black Panther Party, anyone?

  • DonReynolds

    What a coincidence. Only the Republican states in the South would be under the thumb of the Justice Department. Yes, that is what pre-clearance means.
    Oooops. Sorry, I misspelled the Just-Us Department.

    • emiledurk16

      Right on the money, Don. An action our hero (Honest Abe) (sarcasm) would’ve been proud of. Wrong side won that war. And we’re payin the price now.

  • DonReynolds

    I really do not care if they raise the voting age to 55…..same with the drinking age…..but that is not what they are going to do. They are more likely to let pets and illegal aliens vote.
    I agree with you, anyone who receives a check from the government should not be allowed to vote themselves more money. If you get paid by the government (other than IRS refund), you should not be allowed to vote. Yes, that means government workers too.

  • DonReynolds

    After the Civil War, those who held office in the South during the war, including those who served in the military were banned from voting or running for public office, which was how the blacks and carpetbaggers took over every state government in the Southern States during Reconstruction. Yankees thought it was cute and funny. THAT, boys and girls, is where Jim Crow came from.

  • DonReynolds

    I wish they would. The blood on the streets would wash away with the next good rain and the problem would never happen again. Your nightmare is our solution.

  • Michigan Patriot

    Since 1965 till today; Original-Americans ,aka, European Christians; have had their ancestors from Europe, Australia, Canada & New Zealand almost dried up from coming to America. Because of both treasonous parties allowing this ethnic & racial cleansing to continue; the White population has dropped to 66 % from 89 %; that has weakened their voting power by a whopping 23 %; what a disparate voting rights scandal ! What anti-White racism !

  • emiledurk16

    Hey Leahy, Sensenbrenner, and Conyers (or should I say, Moe, Larry and Shemp).
    I can give ya a state which has exhibited a recent history of discrimination.
    Its the CommonWealth of Massachusetts.

    They put on their jobs websites that minorities and women are strongly encouraged
    to apply. Although blacks represent about 15% of the census, they occupy 78%
    of all state jobs. Women represent about 52%, yet occupy about 85% of the positions.

    “Minorities and women are STRONGLY encouraged to apply”

    Mr. Leahy, would that mean that white males will more than likely be passed over because of their gender and ethnicity. I would say that’s a recent pattern of discrimination.

    Might wanna look into that. Ya, right.

  • emiledurk16

    Who can forget the Bantu Brigade with Batons ensuring, eh…, security at the polls.
    Eric “my people” Holder said “there’s nothing to see here, move along.”

  • slash345

    The fact that those states still have to have pre-clearence or whatever is all the evidence we need that the people in complete control are of the leftist sorts.

    Scary thought because we’re at their mercy…

  • Long Live Dixie

    A bipartisan group of lawmakers . . ..

    Still another reason why no Southerner should ever vote for a Republican.