Feb 16, 2014

Voter ID Protection Act: Here's the Language of HR 3899 Amending the Voting Rights Act

Update: Here's a quote from the official statement (January 2014) of the NAACP's Lorraine C. Miller, Interim President and CEO, NAACP on HR 3899: "The NAACP appreciates that the U.S. Congress has made a bipartisan effort to update the Voting Rights Act, however we have serious concerns about the ability of some provisions in this bill to protect ALL voters from discrimination at the polls.
As the nation's oldest and largest grassroots civil rights organization we have the responsibility to ensure that any proposed legislation is in the best interest of our members, our community and our country. Participation in our democracy should be unfettered and all votes should be properly counted. From the exceptions for voter ID laws to decreased preclearance coverage to increased reliance on costly litigation, there are essential revisions and amendments to this bill that must take place to ensure ALL voters have fair and equitable access to the ballot box."
Translation: Get rid of this voter ID law protection nonsense or kill this stupid, fracking bill.

From the Library of Congress:
H. R. 3899  To amend the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to revise the criteria for determining which States and political subdivisions are subject to section 4 of the Act, and for other purposes.
Here's the problem: GOP-passed state laws designed to obstruct voters are specifically excepted as violations of the Voting Rights Act.

If singed into law H. R. 3899 would be the basis of a decision devastating the arguments of League of United Latin American Citizens of Wisconsin v. Deininger alleging violations of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by disenfranchising Latinos and African Americans.

This is of course Sensenbrenner's objective, protecting Voter ID laws across the country from legal challenge. Here's the bill's language regarding photo identification laws:

... violations of this Act (other than a violation of section 2(a) which is based on the imposition of a requirement that an individual provide a photo identification as a condition of receiving a ballot for voting in an election for Federal, State, or local office); ...


`(3) DETERMINATION OF VOTING RIGHTS VIOLATION- For purposes of paragraph (1), a voting rights violation occurred in a State or political subdivision if any of the following applies: ...

... `(D) The Attorney General has interposed an objection under section 3(c) or section 5 (and the objection has not been overturned by a final judgment of a court or withdrawn by the Attorney General), and thereby prevented a voting qualification or prerequisite to voting or standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting from being enforced anywhere within the State or subdivision, other than an objection which is based on a voting qualification or procedure which consists of the imposition of a requirement that an individual provide a photo identification as a condition of receiving a ballot for voting in an election for Federal, State, or local office. ...
In other words, this so-called Voting Rights Act fix would devastate the legal argument that obstructive Republican Voter ID laws are violations of the Voting Rights Act, and voters are left with GOP justices regard for the 14th and 15th and perhaps the 24th amendments protecting voters against discrimination, an appalling fate in this democracy.

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