I’m not going to be in Atlanta for the Keep the Vote Alive march, so I figure the least I can do is post about it, in case folks reading here don’t know about the march or its purpose.
So, why a march? Keep the vote alive? Since when is the right to vote in danger? Wasn’t all that settlted with the civil rights movement and the voting rights act? You’d think so, but you’d be wrong. If we learned nothing else from Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004, we should have learned that there are still threats to voting rights, even with the Voting Rights act in place. But did you know that certain provisions of the Act are set to expire in 2007?
The Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965 during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson after a decade of civil rights activism revealed the deep roots of opposition to black enfranchisement. The Act has been hailed as the most successful civil rights legislation ever passed by Congress. Many experts credit it directly for the emergence of a distinct black electorate and for more than 9,000 black elected officials. What’s more, the legislation helped not just black voters in the South, but Latinos, Native Americans and other minorities.
Key provisions of the Act are set to expire in August 2007 and the “Keep the Vote Alive” march in Atlanta also is a demand for President George W. Bush and Congress to extend those provisions.
…Among the provisions scheduled to expire in 2007 is one that requires certain states and precincts-again, most of them in the South-to get the Justice Department to give “pre-clearance” to changes in voting time, place or manner. March supporters argue this provision is one of the most important components of the Act.
…Another extraordinary remedy set to expire requires localities that have heavy populations of non-English speakers to provide ballots and instruction in other languages.
And, just so we’re clear, that’s 2007. Before the next presidential election. That’s right. Bewteen now and the next presidential election, we have to count on the Bush White House and the Republican Congress to keep certain these provisions of the Voting Rights Act — which go a long way to help certain groups that tend to vote mostly Democratic — intact.
If you can’t be there, check out the list of participants, and send a thank you to your Representative/Senator if he/she is attending the march. And if he/she didn’t attend, contact them to find out why, urge them to support keeping these provisions of the Voting Rights Act alive.
(Hat-tip to Miss Monica at the PBAHQ.)
Update: From De Novo comes a reminder that tomorrow is the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.