FANNIE LOU HAMER, ROSA PARKS, AND CORETTA SCOTT KING VOTING RIGHTS ACT REAUTHORIZATION AND AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2006 -- (Senate - July 20, 2006)
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Mr. DeWINE. Mr. President, I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this very important piece of legislation, the Voting Rights Reauthorization Act of 2006.
As we all know, Congress first passed the Voting Rights Act back in 1965, when many jurisdictions had numerous laws and regulations aimed at denying the right to vote to many of our citizens--in direct violation of the 15th amendment to the Constitution. The Voting Rights Act made it clear that our society would no longer tolerate such abuses. It also made clear that all citizens should have the opportunity to exercise this critical right freely and easily, without harassment, intimidation, or other barriers to voting. Its passage was one of the proudest moments of the civil rights movement.
The Voting Rights Act has been an extraordinary success, and we can see its results in towns, counties, and States across the country, as well as in the House of Representatives and in the U.S. Senate. Minority voters have had their voices heard and their votes counted, and have helped elect a wide range of officials who reflect the diversity of our great Nation. Unfortunately, despite the great advances we have made as a country, we still have more work to do. Both the House and the Senate have investigated this issue thoroughly, and after numerous hearings and thousands of pages of evidence being accepted into the record, it is clear that we need to reauthorize the expiring provisions of the act. More time and effort is needed to completely fulfill the promise of the Voting Rights Act and to assure every citizen that his or her 15th amendment rights are fully available, and this bill will allow us the time we need.
The House of Representatives has already passed the Voting Rights Renewal Act, and I am glad we are going to move it forward today. We can then quickly put this critical legislation in front of the President, who supports the bill and is waiting to sign it into law. I am hopeful that at the end of this 25-year reauthorization, we will all be able to agree that no further legislative action is necessary--that we have accomplished the critical goal of assuring every American citizen the equal right to vote.
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