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Supporting Reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act

WHEREAS, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act (VRA) into law in 1965 to supplement the Fifteenth Amendment. The VRA is designed to prevent intimidation, voter harassment, the poll tax, language barriers, literacy tests, racial gerrymandering, and other tools of disenfranchisement; and

WHEREAS, The VRA 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; and

WHEREAS, as a result, the VRA has increased minority participation in the political process and empowered minority communities to elect candidates of choice to local, state, and federal office; and

WHEREAS, in August 2007, certain provisions of the VRA are set to expire. These sections include: Bilingual Election Procedures (Section 203 and 204(f)(4), requiring the states of California, Texas and New Mexico and numerous local municipalities to provide bilingual election procedures for significant language minority populations, Covered Jurisdictions (Section 5), which calls for jurisdictions with histories of voter exclusion and disenfranchisement prove to federal authorities that any proposed changes to voting laws or procedures will not negatively impact minority voters, and Observer Deployment (Section 6-9), which allows for the deployment of poll observers and federal experts to jurisdictions with histories of voter exclusion; and

WHEREAS, if these sections are allowed to expire, the results could be detrimental to African American and other racial and ethnic minorities in their ability to participate in the electoral process. 

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP hereby supports the Rainbow Push/Coalition and joins in a Coalition of Conscience march and rally on August 6, 2005, in Atlanta, GA, to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act and mobilize to win its extension; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP will roll out an aggressive, grass roots national campaign to support the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. The NAACP will conduct state and local hearings to develop and full and factual record of voting rights violations; and,

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP supports a reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act that includes passage of the aforementioned sections and addresses voter discrimination, harassment, intimidation and other abuses of the electoral process since the 1982 reauthorization.