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Don’t expect GOP to back Congressional boost to Voting Rights Act

Earl Ofari Hutchinson | 7/3/2013, 7:41 a.m.

One obvious way is to broaden out the pre-clearance provision to include other areas of the country that have had or could have potential voting restriction issues and then insuring that those jurisdictions be targeted for mandatory Justice Department monitoring. This would remove from the table the GOP’s ancient contention that the act unfairly targeted the South and some sections of the Southwest. This would easily pass constitutional muster since it would not single any one district, region or state for restrictive monitoring or Justice Department litigation.

But even this practical remake of the disputed parts of the act is anathema to the GOP. If proposed, GOP congressional leaders would dither, delay, and loudly squeal again that voter discrimination is non-existent. And that there is no need for adding another burdensome provision to the Voting Rights Act. It would certainly die a quick death in the GOP conservative controlled House.

The only real chance to resuscitate the key provision of the act is a congressional overhaul. That requires that Democrats hold or extend their numbers in the Senate and win back a majority in the House in the 2014 mid-term elections.

For the time being, though, the harsh reality is that five judges essentially nullified what two GOP presidents and Congress, with overwhelming bi-partisan support for the past near half century, have routinely done. And that’s to insure the much fought for and prized Voting Rights Act has stayed intact on the books to insure that a fair, equitable and democratic voting process remains the law of the land. Don’t expect the GOP to back that continued fight.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst.