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Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


FANNIE LOU HAMER, ROSA PARKS, AND CORETTA SCOTT KING VOTING RIGHTS ACT REAUTHORIZATION AND AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2006

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Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, it is shameful that Americans were once routinely denied the ability to vote on account of their skin color. All Americans should celebrate the Voting Rights Act's role in vindicating the constitutional rights of all citizens to vote free of racial discrimination. Therefore, I was hoping I could support reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. However, I cannot support H.R. 9 because it extends the unfunded bilingual ballots mandate.

I had joined with my colleague from Iowa, Mr. KING, in supporting an amendment to strike the bilingual ballot mandate, which was unfortunately rejected by this House. Mr. Speaker, despite the fact that a person must demonstrate a basic command of the English language before becoming a citizen, Congress is continuing to force States to provide ballots in languages other than English. If a knowledge of English is important enough to be a precondition of citizenship, then why should we force States to facilitate voting in languages other than English?

Of course, Mr. Chairman, I have no desire to deny any American citizens the ability to vote. Contrary to the claims of its opponents, Mr. KING's amendment does not deny any American the ability to vote. Under Mr. KING's amendment, Americans will still have a legal right to bring translators to the polls to assist them in voting, and States could still choose to print bilingual ballots if the King amendment passes. All the King amendment did is repeal a costly Federal mandate.

In conclusion, while I recognize the continuing need for protection of voting rights, I cannot support this bill before us since it extends the costly and divisive bilingual ballot mandate.

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