Justice Department Decision on Voting Rights Likely Swayed by Politics, ACLU Raises Serious Concerns About Undermining of Voting Rights Act

November 17, 2005 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union today expressed concerns that the Justice Department rejected the recommendations of its own team of voting rights experts when it approved a Georgia voter identification law. The experts issued a detailed 51-page memorandum that showed that the proposal would discriminate against minority voters. The decision to reject their recommendation was revealed today in a front-page story in the Washington Post.

Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, Georgia is one of nine states required to submit any proposed changes to its voting rules to the Justice Department for pre-clearance to ensure that such changes will not have a discriminatory impact on minority voters. Portions of the Voting Rights Act, including Section 5, are set to expire in 2007, unless Congress acts to renew them.

The following can be attributed to LaShawn Warren, an ACLU Legislative Counsel:

“Reports that high ranking political officials at the Department of Justice overturned the recommendations of experienced career civil rights attorneys and analysts are extremely disturbing. Section 5 enforcement must be administered in an impartial and non-partisan manner. The right to vote should not hinge on the political persuasions of those in government.”

To learn more about the ACLU’s work on the Voting Rights Act, go to:

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