NYT: Calls to End Voting Rights Act


My thoughts on Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act caught the attention of NY Times reporter, Winnie Hu.

Ms. Hu cites the Bronx as a case study regarding the continued efficacy of Section 5. Tell me your thoughts.

Even some of those who support the Voting Rights Act suggested that it was no longer needed in New York City. Michael Benjamin, a former state assemblyman in the Bronx, said that the law had helped scores of minorities get elected to office in the borough, and that it should now fall to those local officials, not the federal government, to enforce voting rights.

"When you break your leg, they put it in a cast, and when your leg heals, they take it off," Mr. Benjamin said. "I’m saying it’s worked, take the cast off."

But Norman Siegel, a prominent civil-rights lawyer, echoed other city leaders who suggested that barriers to voting could be hard to recognize and might be unintended, like budget-related reductions in polling sites or staff that result in long lines.

"It’s not like the poll tax or the literacy test, but it’s still preventing people from voting," Mr. Siegel said. "No one thinks of blatant racism in New York, but there are subtle forms of disenfranchisement that still exist."

To read more – http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/03/08/nyregion/calls-to-end-voting-rights-act-stir-debate-in-the-bronx.xml

About SquarePegDem

A former state legislator turned NY Post editorial board member, thought-leader, public affairs consultant and commentator, columnist and blogger. Michael has appeared on Al Jazeera America Tonight, NY1/Inside City Hall, FoxNews.com LIVE, YNN/Capital Tonight, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Fred Dicker Show, The Capitol Press Room, and The Daily Show. His op-eds have appeared in the NY Post, City and State, The Legislative Gazette, Bronx Times, The Troy Record, Buffalo News, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. To schedule speaking engagements, email MBenjamin9@optimum.net.
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4 Responses to NYT: Calls to End Voting Rights Act

  1. lilly29 says:

    Once they end the Voting Rights Act in NYC other cities will follow. To some it may not be necessary but to others it still is needed.

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  2. digger666 says:

    The analogy with a broken leg and a cast is a false one. A more appropriate comparison would be remedial intervention for a congenital defect. With the Voting Rights Act (the intervention) the patient functions in a manor consistent with it’s constitution. Remove the Act and the patient reverts to the original disabilities associated with that defect.

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    • I don’t subscribe to your diagnosis or treatment intervention in the case of NYC. Perhaps, a blanket diagnosis is the problem. Treatment of flareups , eg, voter ID laws, are in order as needed. Continued prophylaxis becomes ineffective over time.

      In NYC, the patient has healed and his prognosis is good. However, continued monitoring is appropriate in Mississippi and should be implemented in Ohio.

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  3. Pingback: The Voting Rights Act was instituted in 1965 to ensure the end of literacy tests, grandfather clauses, poll taxes, and other methods that were used to systematically disenfranchise African-Americans in the South. | Sunset Daily

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