WASHINGTON - July 27 - The American Civil Liberties Union today applauded President Bush as he signed into law the "Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006." Congress rejected attempts to dilute the original intent of the bill and passed a "clean" reauthorization bill, which renews key provisions that would otherwise expire in 2007.
"We applaud President Bush for signing into law this bill so vital to American democracy," said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "However, passage of this bill does not mean we can rest. Sadly, voting discrimination still takes place. Renewal of the Voting Rights Act must be followed by vigorous enforcement by the executive branch and the courts."
Fredrickson attended today’s signing ceremony with LaShawn Warren, ACLU Legislative Counsel for Civil Rights. The ACLU had waged a massive campaign to promote the act’s renewal. The efforts included:
A comprehensive report introduced into the congressional record: "The Case for Extending and Amending the Voting Rights Act: Voting Rights Litigation, 1982-2006" which documents 293 ACLU cases brought in 31 states to protect the rights to vote;
Congressional testimony by ACLU President Nadine Strossen and ACLU Voting Rights Project Director Laughlin McDonald;
A Voting Rights Act documentary which aired on Court TV;
A public policy report introduced into the congressional record: "Promises to Keep: The Impact of the Voting Rights Act 2006, which details the practical effects of the Voting Rights Act;
Web action alerts that generated more than 100,000 phone calls and e-mails from ACLU activists.
"Unfortunately, equal voting rights still do not exist in many parts of the country," said Warren. "We remain confident that renewal of this historic civil rights law will play an essential role in the struggle to eliminate discrimination in voting."
To read more about the ACLU’s campaign to renew the Voting Rights Act, go to: www.votingrights.org.