Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Conscience of Saline County - Speaking Truth to Power (7-27-06)

BRIEFING NOTES: Voting Rights Act, Reauthorization


The NAACP strongly endorses the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006 (S. 2703/H.R. 9) which was introduced on May 2, 2006 to reauthorize expiring portions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
The Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 is a hard won milestone of the Civil Rights Movement and the single most effective piece of civil rights legislation ever passed. The VRA has protected the franchise of millions of minority voters against discriminatory measures such as poll taxes, literacy tests, racially biased redistricting plans and language barriers designed to limit minority access to the ballot.

Though the sections of the Voting Rights Act that guarantee that no one may be denied the right to vote based on their race are permanent, the expiring sections are crucial to protecting the franchise of minority voters. The sections of the VRA that will expire in 2007 if not reauthorized by Congress are Section 5 which requires those states with a history of discriminatory voting practices to preclear their election plans to ensure that they are fair and equitable; Section 203 which provides greater access to the electoral process for Limited English Proficient (LEP) voters; and Sections 6 and 9 which allow federal monitors to protect voters from intimidation and harassment at the polls. Each one of the expiring sections of the VRA remains vital to ensuring equal access to the ballot for all Americans. More>>

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Possible Litigation

Missouri's SB 1014 Photo ID Law

The NAACP is now exploring possible responses to the Election Reforms recently signed into law in Missouri and I am in need of your assistance to identify people who will be adversely affected most by this ID law. The criteria being used would probably have the following characteristics:

They do not have one of the forms of photo ID required:
1 - Getting such an ID would be impossible, or very difficult, because they can't get the documentation (can't get a birth certificate, from out of state, or because they were born at home without a birth certification), or because going to get such an ID would be a hardship
2 - Ideally, they'll have voted before in Missouri for many years
3 - They were not on or before 1/1/41. 4 - College Student who resides in another county other than election poll.

If you know of people in your communities who might fit these characteristics, or know of others who might know such people, we would very much like to meet them and speak with them. We would like to meet with them over the next 2-weeks to begin our preparations.
I know that the storm has presently caused numerous problems, still it would be a greater tragedy if we allow the possible pending storm that would silence the voices of our congregations and communities to happen without any due diligence or preparation. Please forward any names and contact information, or you can have them to contact me directly.
Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Rev. Gill Ford, Region IV Director 4477 Woodson Road, Suite 201 St. Louis, MO 63134 314 428-9900 Phone 314 428-9904 Fax

Mary Ratliff, MO NAACP State Conference President, marrat300@aol.com

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