Holder Signals Tough Review of New State Laws on Voting
Published: December 13, 2011
AUSTIN, Tex. — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Tuesday entered the turbulent political waters of voting rights, signaling that the Justice Department would be aggressive in reviewing new voting laws that civil rights advocates say will dampen minority participation in next year’s elections.
Declaring in a speech that protecting ballot access for all eligible voters “must be viewed not only as a legal issue but as a moral imperative,” Mr. Holder urged Americans to “call on our political parties to resist the temptation to suppress certain votes in the hope of attaining electoral success and, instead, achieve success by appealing to more voters.”
The speech by Mr. Holder could inflame a smoldering partisan dispute over race and ballot access as the 2012 campaign cycle intensifies. It comes as the Justice Department’s civil rights division is scrutinizing a series of new state voting laws that were enacted — largely by Republican officials — in the name of fighting fraud.
Mr. Holder spoke here at the presidential library of Lyndon B. Johnson, who signed the Voting Rights Act in 1965. The act enables the civil rights division to object to election laws and practices on the grounds that they would disproportionately deter minority groups from voting — even if there is no evidence of discriminatory intent — and to go to court to block states from putting the laws in place.
Read the full story here: The New York Times
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