ANCHORAGE: Today, the Alaska Democratic Party released the following Congressional Record citations and press releases from Alaskaâ€™s Congressional delegation, Republican Senate leadership, and President George W. Bush. These Republicans played a key role in Voting Rights Act reauthorization in 2006.
Alaska’s Congressional delegation supported the Voting Rights Act in 2006 and rejected efforts to eliminate Section 5 preclearance from the bill—precisely the section that the Parnell-Treadwell administration is challenging in court today.
“The Parnell-Treadwell Administration is litigating to overturn Voting Rights Act protections which our entire Congressional delegation supported only a few years ago,” said Mike Wenstrup, Chair of the Alaska Democratic Party. “Today Senator Begich, like Senator Stevens before him, supports the common sense protections of Alaska Natives’ most fundamental right–the right to vote.”
Senator Ted Stevens:
Senator Stevens voted for the Voting Rights Act reauthorization of 2006, joining his colleagues in a 98-0 vote. In a press release issued after Senate passage, Senator Stevens said, “This is a very significant act and I’m glad to see it has been passed on a bipartisan basis. This legislation demonstrates our country’s continued commitment to equal voting rights.”
Senator Lisa Murkowski:
Senator Murkowski voted for the Voting Rights Act reauthorization of 2006.
Congressman Don Young:
Congressman Don Young voted for the Voting Rights Act; the final House vote was 390-33. During consideration of amendments to the bill, Congressman Young voted to maintain Section 5 preclearance requirements, to maintain requirements for multilingual voting assistance, and to reject state efforts to “bailout” from Voting Rights Act Section 5 coverage.
Today, the Parnell-Treadwell Administration has challenged Section 5 in court, failed to provide sufficient multilingual voting assistance, and is litigating to remove Alaska from Section 5 jurisdiction, putting it directly at odds with the voting record of Congressman Young.
Other Republican leaders also supported Voting Rights Act reauthorization, including President George W. Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and Representative Sensenbrenner, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
President George W. Bush:
President Bush issued the following Statement of Administrative Policy in support of the Voting Rights Act: “The Administration is strongly committed to renewing the Voting Rights Act, and therefore supports House passage of H.R. 9. The Voting Rights Act is one of the most significant pieces of civil rights legislation in the Nation’s history, and the President has directed the full power and resources of the Justice Department to protect each citizen’s right to vote and to preserve the integrity of the Nation’s voting process.”
Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist:
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist made the following statement on the floor of the Senate when the Senate passed the Voting Rights Act reauthorization unanimously: “A few months ago, I stood with Speaker Hastert, Chairman Specter, and Chairman Sensenbrenner on the steps of the Capitol where we reaffirmed at that time our commitment to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act. Thus, I am pleased this Congress will act to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act and, indeed, today, right now, the United States is doing just that. We expedited it through committee under the leadership of Chairman Specter so we could bring it to the Senate as quickly as possible. We will complete that action in a few hours today. Today the Senate is standing together to protect the right to vote for all Americans. We stand together, putting aside partisan differences, to ensure discrimination at the voting booth remains a relic of the past. We are working for a day when equality is more than a principle upon which our laws are founded, a day when equality is a reality by which our society is defined. We are working for the day when our equality, our oneness, is reflected not only in our laws but in the hearts and minds of every American. I hope and pray the day will come when racism and discrimination are only a part of our past and not our present.”
Republican Jim Sensenbrenner, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee:
Congressman Sensenbrenner made this statement while managing the Voting Rights Act reauthorization on the House floor. Sensenbrenner also led efforts to defeat amendments which would have gutted Section 5, reduced access to multilingual ballots, or allowed states to “bailout” of the Voting Rights Act: “The committee record that formed the basis for this legislation demonstrates that, while the VRA has been successful in protecting minority voters who are historically disenfranchised in certain parts of the country, our work is not yet complete. Racial discrimination in the electoral process continues to exist and threatens to undermine the progress that has been made over the last 40 years.”