Eric Holder Calls for National Voting Standards

The attorney general said there is an ongoing need to defend voting rights.

Posted: 12/12/2012 02:31 PM EST
Eric Holder Calls for National Voting Standards

The election season may be over, but Attorney General Eric Holder continues to defend voting rights and speak out against restrictive new laws that critics say aimed to disenfranchise certain groups.

In a speech delivered Tuesday night at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, he called the country's current registration system "antiquated" and the "single largest barrier to American voters." The solution, he said, is a national and portable government database so that voters who move from one state can maintain their registration.

"A recent study by the MacArthur Foundation found that nearly 90 percent of those who voted in last month’s election would support creating national voting standards,” Holder said, adding that it's time for the nation "to engage in a frank, thorough, and inclusive discussion about how our election systems can be made stronger and more accessible.”

Holder also noted the ongoing need for the 16 states that have a history of discrimination to seek preclearance from the Justice Department when changes are made to voting laws. Some critics have said that the requirement is no longer necessary.

"The unfortunate reality is that, even today, too many citizens have reason to fear that their right to vote, their access to the ballot – and their ability to have their votes counted – is under threat," Holder said. "In too many places, troubling divisions and disparities remain. And, despite the remarkable, once-unimaginable progress that we’ve seen over the last half century – indeed, over the last four years – Section 5 remains an indispensable tool for eradicating racial discrimination."

 

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(Photo: AP Photo/Yves Logghe)

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