Ken Blackwell and other African American leaders warn HR 4 does not continue John Lewis’ proud civil rights legacy – RedState
The Democratic-led House voted Tuesday to advance HR 4 – also known as the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Promotion Act – to a contentious battle in the Senate. If passed, the legislation would, among other things, allow the Justice Department to “review of changes in electoral law in states with a history of discrimination.“
Democrats such as James Clyburn (D-SC), the House Majority Leader, have insisted that the law is necessary to counter recent Supreme Court decisions that weaken the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and impede the ability of minority communities to vote, while making it easier for states to override election results.
“These undemocratic measures disproportionately impact communities of color,” Clyburn said Tuesday.
However, Ken Blackwell, president of CNP action and the former Ohio Secretary of State disagreed with that sentiment Tuesday before the vote. He said HR 4 is little more than a seizure of power and an extreme partisan attempt to federalize elections that would ultimately “lead to federal control. [and] the corruption of the elections by partisan ideals in the Department of Justice “.
Blackwell, speaking at a press conference with other prominent African American leaders including Dean Nelson, president of the Douglass Leadership Institute, and Clarence E. Henderson, national spokesperson for the Frederick Douglass Foundation, said the legislation is not in keeping with the spirit of activism. of its namesake and “is an insult to the history of the civil rights movement in this country.”
“It is a direct affront to the transparency of the electoral systems at the local and state level,” said Blackwell, because it would allow the Department of Justice to sue the states for laws passed but not yet implemented; and I would, according to USA Today, “Create new tests to challenge election laws that dilute voters’ power, as in redistricting, or to prevent a voter from casting a vote, as in a voter identification case.”
In the latest legislation, the House agreed to reactivate the Justice Department’s review of election law changes if a state accumulates 15 violations in 25 years. The bill would also create a “practice-based” prior authorization category, to give the department oversight when a jurisdiction makes changes, such as switching from district voting to general elections.
Blackwell, Dean and Henderson stated that the legislation is a “solution in search of a problem” in terms of providing a purported solution to the problem of disenfranchisement of minorities at the polls.
“The elections are setting participation records among minorities and racial and ethnic groups,” Blackwell said, noting that the number of African American and Hispanic voters increased in 2020 compared to 2016.
“There is no real evidence from our point of view that blacks are being discriminated against at the polls,” Dean said. “There is a constant effort on the left to scare, particularly African American voters, mainly in the southern states.”
“[The left’s language is intended] To create greater concern in the minority community that voting rights may be taken away. [and H.R. 4] Ultimately, it gives… more control than the Department of Justice really needs, ”Dean said.
The battle in the Senate could lead to a renewed debate on the abolition of obstructionism. An obstructionism to block the legislation would require 60 votes to win, and the nearly even partisan division in the Senate makes it a hardship.
“If 10 Senate Republicans do not support this bill, then Senate Democrats must reform filibuster,” Sylvia Albert, Common Cause director of voting and elections, told USA Today. “The freedom to vote must be protected for all Americans.”
But for Henderson, the problem is much more personal than the procedural battles in the houses of Congress.
“First he wouldn’t let us vote, then he tells us how to vote, now he wants to restrict our voting rights,” Henderson said Tuesday.