FANNIE LOU HAMER, ROSA PARKS, AND CORETTA SCOTT KING VOTING RIGHTS ACT REAUTHORIZATION AND AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2006 -- (House of Representatives - July 13, 2006)
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Mr. FILNER. Mr. Chairman, I have been active in the struggle for civil rights since my teenage years. In 1961, I joined the first Freedom Rides to desegregate transportation facilities in our Southern States--and was arrested and imprisoned for several months in Mississippi. In 1965, I joined our colleague, JOHN LEWIS, as he led the famous march from Selma to Montgomery, AL. This led directly to Congressional passage of the Voting Rights Act. Since then, I have not forgotten my long standing beliefs and have consistently fought to uphold civil and human rights for every person in the United States.
The Voting Rights Act, adopted initially in 1965 and extended in 1970, 1975, and 1982, stands as the most successful piece of civil rights legislation ever. The Act codifies and effectuates the 15th Amendment's permanent guarantee that, throughout the Nation, no person shall be denied the right to vote on account of race or color. In addition, the Act contains several special provisions that impose even more stringent requirements in certain jurisdictions throughout the country, including the requirement to provide bilingual assistance to language minority voters.
This Act marked the first successful Federal oversight of changes to election procedures in jurisdictions that had a poor record of respecting minority voting rights in the past. These ``special provisions'' are set to expire in 2007. Therefore, the Voting Rights Act must pass in its entirety, without amendment.
At this time, when our country has staked much of its international reputation on the ability to spread democracy and free elections to troubled regions across the globe, the importance of keeping this Act in legislation with its special provisions is very vital. I urge my colleagues to support the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act and reject all amendments.
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