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Is it true that . . .   The Voting Rights Act of 1965 will expire in 2007 and African Americans and other ethnic minorities will lose the right to vote?

The answer is no. Congress passed the Voting Rights Act in 1965 in response to widespread evidence of disfranchisement of black citizens in several southern states. The Act protects citizens' right to vote primarily by forbidding covered states from using tests of any kind (like literacy tests) to determine eligibility to vote, by requiring these states to obtain federal approval before enacting any election laws, and by assigning federal officials to monitor the registration process in certain localities. Congress has amended the Act several times since 1965 to include other ethnic groups under its coverage.

The facts: The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a permanent law, but there are certain provisions in it that are temporary and scheduled to expire in 2007 (mostly those provisions requiring federal examiners and federal election observers). These expiring provisions will not result in the loss of the right to vote--that right is guaranteed by the 15th Amendment and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Link to the U.S. Department of Justice for more information.


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