Rep. Eshoo believes strongly in the need to protect the voting rights of every American. Congress passed the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in 1965, in response to widespread disenfranchisement of minorities, particularly in the South. Since its enactment, the VRA has been reauthorized numerous times and expanded to address other issues that impact voting access and fair representation, including congressional districting, language requirements and election monitoring.
With some provisions of the VRA set to expire in 2007, Rep. Eshoo is proud to be a cosponsor of H.R. 9, the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act. H.R. 9 reauthorizes the temporary provisions of the VRA for 25 years. These provisions are essential to ensuring that voters' rights are not stifled by unfair and unethical practices by:
* Requiring pre-approval of any changes to election practices that may restrict voting rights for States and voting precincts specifically outlined in the VRA (Section 5).
* Establishing guidelines for federal election monitors to be brought in to oversee elections (Sections 6 through 9).
* Mandating that jurisdictions with greater than 5 percent of the voting-age citizens (or 10,000 voting-age citizens) belonging to a single language minority with limited English proficiency be provided with bilingual voting materials (Section 203).