over two years ago one of my cousins sent me an email about comments by Camille Cosby concerning the Voting Rights Act (read more & here). apparently, blacks would lose the right to vote because the VRA was about to expire. i admit that for five hot seconds i believed this. checked ACLU, DOJ & NAACP.
i collected the pertinent links concerning the hoax, the 15th Amendment, etc. & for five minutes debated sending this info to my cousin only or replying to everyone — my cousin had a fat address book & i didn't know anyone CC'd. i thought it best to send it to everyone pointing out the ACLU seemed to think redistricting issues more of a threat than anything else & had no mention of this hoax. (NAACP did mention the hoax, but i'm unable to find the original link; more ACLU info on Voting Rights). what i didn't know prior to my cousin's email was that the VRA was going to expire & needed to be reauthorized because of certain protective provisions. these provisions would be unnecessary if the 15th Amendment was sufficent enough to secure minority voting rights.
my cousin emailed me back thanking me for the info relieved to know this was just a hoax. however, one person emailed me separately saying i was part of the problem. i responded asking what it was i said exactly that was incorrect. never got a response back.
glad i checked this again:
Now, as we celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the Act, we also face the expiration of certain of its provisions. Three key parts of the Voting Rights Act will expire in 2007 unless Congress reauthorizes them. One is the portion which allows federal observers to go to certain jurisdictions where there is evidence of intimidation of minority voters. Another is the section which provides bilingual assistance to voters. Third, and most important, is Section 5, which requires “pre-clearance” of changes to voting practices and procedures in covered jurisdictions. These include redistricting, annexation, at-large elections, polling place changes, and new rules for candidate qualifying – all of which can be used to discriminate. A bi-partisan Congressional report in 1982 warned that without this provision, discrimination would reappear “overnight.” Anyone who claims that voting rights for minority Americans are now secure need only look to Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004. A recent report said that 28 percent of all Ohio voters and 52 percent of black voters said they experienced problems in voting. And a dismal 19 percent of black voters expressed confidence that their votes were properly counted.
The NAACP plans to roll out an aggressive, grassroots national campaign to support the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act, including state and local hearings to develop a full and factual record of voting rights violations. The Voting Rights Act is credited with increasing minority participation in the political process and empowering minority communities to elect thousands of African American candidates to local, state and federal office. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Act into law in 1965. It is designed to prevent voting impediments such as: intimidation, voter harassment, the poll tax, language barriers, literacy tests, racial gerrymandering and other tools of disenfranchisement. The Act further guarantees that no federal, state or local government shall in any way impede or discourage people from registering to vote or voting because of their race or color. Portions of the Act are due to expire in 2007.
Many Americans know about racial profiling -- the practice of using race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion as the primary factor in deciding who to subject to law enforcement investigations.