The Republican Party in Texas has placed in its platform a call for Congress to repeal the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the landmark legislation that outlawed discrimination in voting practices.
"We urge that the Voter Rights Act of 1965 codified and updated in 1973 be repealed and not reauthorized," the platform states.
One of the key provisions of the Voting Rights act calls for various states to get permission from the federal government before they may change their voting regulations. That permission is known as “preclearance.”
Texas is one of nine such states that have had instances of racial discrimination and must therefore obtain clearance from the United States Department of Justice before they are allowed to make changes in their voting laws.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is a Republican, has contended the legislation places a strong burden on some areas of the country and not others. Supporters say the Civil Rights Act was passed because of a history of discrimination and voter disenfranchisement in some sections of the country.
The position of the Texas Republicans on the Voting Rights Act is a reflection of the national discourse on the changes many states have made in voters’ access to the ballot box.
Attorney General Eric Holder has led the Justice Department in stepping in and blocking some of the recent changes in voter identification laws in a number of states. The changes have been harshly criticized by civil rights groups as making it more challenging for minorities and students to vote.
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