Washington, D.C. – Senator Susan Collins has cosponsored legislation that would reauthorize important provisions contained in the Voting Rights Act that protect the voting rights of all Americans. While the Voting Rights Act is a permanent federal law enacted in 1965, it contains some temporary provisions that are set to expire in 2007.
“One of the most fundamental and significant rights afforded to American citizens is the right to vote. This right must not be hampered or denied to any citizen through discriminatory tactics,” said Senator Collins. “This bill will ensure that the voting rights afforded to all Americans are protected.”
Specifically, the act prohibits the enactment of any election law that would deny or abridge voting rights based on race, color, or membership in a language minority. It also allows private citizens and the government to challenge discriminatory voting practices and procedures.
The Voting Rights Act Reauthorization bill recently cleared the House and was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee today. It is slated for consideration by the full Senate later this week. The measure has been endorsed by a wide array of civil rights organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and the American Bar Association.