The Texas Republican Party has a plank in their 2012 platform that could take the country back to 1964: it calls for the repeal of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act.
The move is seen as supporting voter ID laws, some of which have been challenged by the U.S. Justice Department on the basis of the Voting Rights Act, which requires states that have a history of denying black Americans the right to vote, get “preclearance” before implementing changes in voting laws. Critics believe voter ID laws unfairly target black, Hispanic and young would-be voters.
“We urge that the Voter Rights Act of 1965 codified and updated in 1973 be repealed and not reauthorized,” the platform reads.
Under a provision of the Voting Rights Act, certain jurisdictions must obtain permission from the federal government — called “preclearance” — before they change their voting rules. The rule was put in place in jurisdictions with a history of voter disenfranchisement.
Some elected officials, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, have since argued that the rules put an unfair burden on certain places and not others. Texas is one of nine states that must obtain preclearance before changing its electoral guidelines.
The declaration by the state’s GOP comes as Texas continues protracted fights over voting rights on several legal fronts. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder blocked the state’s recent voter I.D. law, citing discrimination against minority voters. And a federal judge earlier this month heard motions in a lawsuit filed by Project Vote, a voting rights group that tries to expand voting in low-income communities, that claimed the state’s laws made it illegally difficult to register new voters.
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