Friday, August 26, 2005

Coalition launches Tennessee voting rights campaign

The Tennessean reports that a movement has been started in Tennessee to protect voting rights:

"A diverse coalition of Tennessee leaders began a statewide campaign Monday to strengthen the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), parts of which are soon up for reauthorization."

"Components that combat discrimination and exclusion and guarantee procedures for citizens whose first language is not English are set to expire in 2007."

"These protections should not be endangered, Fisk University Race Relations Institute representative Dr. Sheila Peters said at a meeting at Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church."

"Bernie Ellis, organizer of Gathering to Save Our Democracy, said ... in the 2004 election black voters in Ohio had to wait an average of 52 minutes to vote compared to white voters whose wait averaged 18 minutes, and some votes in predominantly Hispanic and Indian districts were irretrievably lost."

"Eighty-eight NAACP branches and college units will hold voting rights events in the coming months, and the First Amendment Center will host a panel discussion Sept. 16."

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