Letter to the House in Support of H.R. 9 to Reauthorize the Voting Rights Act and in Opposition to All Amendments to the Bill

June 13, 2006

Letter in to the House in Support of H.R. 9 to Reauthorize the Voting Rights Act and in Opposition to All Amendments to the Bill

Dear Representative:

The House of Representatives has the opportunity today to make a strong statement in support of protecting Americans' voting rights. On behalf of Common Cause, I am writing to strongly urge your vote for H.R. 9, the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006.

In a series of hearings over the past year, the House Judiciary Committee has heard numerous examples of how the Voting Rights Act has enabled millions of Americans to enter, and participate in, the mainstream of our democracy. The committee also built a record full of examples of new efforts to disenfranchise voters, dilute voting strength or restrict voting access since enactment of the Voting Rights Act. On both fronts, the message is abundantly clear: America needs the Voting Rights Act.

H.R. 9, which was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on a 33-1 vote, is a direct response to the evidence of discrimination that was gathered by the subcommittee. The bill renews the act's temporary provisions for 25 years, including a reauthorization and strengthening of Section 5 to its original congressional intent. It also renews Section 203, providing equal ballot access to language-minority citizens, and allows for the continued use of federal observers to ensure the fair execution of elections.

Common Cause has a long history of supporting of the Voting Rights Act, including a defense of its constitutionality by our former chairman emeritus, the late Archibald Cox, before the Supreme Court in 1966. Therefore, we ask you to vote for H.R. 9 as approved by the House Judiciary Committee, and oppose all amendments to the bill. By doing so, you will guarantee the continued protection of voting rights for millions of Americans.

The right to vote is the critical foundation of our democracy, and the Voting Rights Act provides the legal basis to protect this right for all Americans. We urge your support for H.R. 9 and ask you to work for its enactment this year.


/s/ Chellie Pingree

President and CEO

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