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  Vernellia R. Randall
Professor of Law
The University of Dayton
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Debunking an Urban Myth

QUESTION:
Is this a true statment?
"We are quickly approaching the 21st Century and I was wondering if anyone out there knew what the significance of the year 2007 is to Black America? Did you know that our right to vote will expire in the year 2007? Seriously!  The Voters Rights Act signed in 1965 by Lyndon B. Johnson was just an ACT. It was not made a law.  In 1982  Ronald Reagan amended the Voters Rights Act for only another 25  years. Which means that in the year 2007 we could lose the right to vote
ABSOLUTELY NOT! The right to vote is guaranteed by the constitution and no "law" ;  nor the expiration of a law can take that away. Voters Right Act is a law that outlawed certain practices which states implemented as a means of keeping  blacks away from the polls. (such as poll  taxes and literacy tests).  It also provide for federal monitoring to assure non-discrimination in voting. With the expiration of the Voters Right Act in 2007, theoretically  states could pass laws requiring a poll tax or literacy tests.  Although they still will not be allowed under the Constitution to discriminated. So the states can't take away your right to vote directly because that is a constitutionally guaranteed right. The real question is whether the  states will pass laws that have the effect of discouraging  people from voting.  I tend to think generally they won't. Although some states may pass  ENGLISH ONLY laws for voting affecting the ability of citizens whose primary language is not english.

The major lost from the failure to re-enact the voting rights bill is the failure to provide for federal monitoring of voting fraud. There are still a number of places in the United States where activites are undertaken to diminish minority voting efforts.  


 

 
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Voting Rights Act Decision Draws Senator's Ire ] Voting Rights and African Americans ] [ Debunking an Urban Legend: Death of Voting Rights ] Reaffirmation or Requiem for the Voting Rights Act ] Race and Election Irregularities on November 7 2000 ] Bush v Gore Through the Lens of Race ] Felon Disenfranchisement: the Modern Day Poll Tax ] Effect of the Voter Rights Act on Indians ] Reconstruction and Felon Disenfranchisement ]
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Thanks to Derrick Bell and his pioneer work: 
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