Thursday, May 27, 2010

Teilhet Supports Continued Enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, Says Hodges isn't quite so sure

Press Relase from Teilhet Campaign:

Greensboro, GA—Sharp differences emerged yesterday afternoon between the two Democratic Attorney General Candidates, State Representative Rob Teilhet and Ken Hodges, over the need to protect voting rights in Georgia. Teilhet supports the continued enforcement of the Voting Rights Act to protect minority voters, while Hodges surprised many observers by publicly questioning the ongoing need for the Voting Rights Act of 1965 .

At a question and answer forum hosted by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Hodges stated, as recorded by Andy Peters with the Fulton County Daily Report, "Certainly there was a need for [the law] originally. If there is evidence of discrimination [it should still be enforced], but I have not looked at that [law] to give an opinion on that now."

Rob Teilhet, Democratic candidate for Attorney General, provided a much different answer. In his closing remarks, Teilhet stated there was no “if” about it—discrimination still occurs every day in Georgia. The people of Georgia deserve an Attorney General who stands up against discrimination and who is willing to protect voting rights.

“This is not some obscure law. The Voting Rights Act was landmark legislation designed to protect every American’s right to fully participate in the electoral process,” said Teilhet. “Georgia needs an Attorney General that understands that we still need this law, and will fight to see it enforced. We’ve come a long way since 1965 but the work is not done. The Voting Rights Act ensures that our progress is maintained and it protects the right to vote for all Georgians.”

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was landmark legislation that outlawed discriminatory practices meant to disenfranchise African American voters. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was renewed by Congress several times, the last time being 2006 when it was signed into law by President Georgia W. Bush, and it remains effective for 25 years. Several congressional representatives from southern states, including Georgia, have challenged the need of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 stating that discrimination no longer exists.

Currently, there are two cases challenging the Voting Rights Act of 1965 pending in federal court. One or both of these cases may end up at the United States Supreme Court. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled narrowly on a challenge, allowing a Texas town to be exempted from the Section 5 requirements of the Act that require preclearance from the U.S. Justice Department without addressing the constitutionality of Section 5. Georgia’s own Legislative Black Caucus—the largest in the nation—submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the protection and preservation of the Voting Rights Act.

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