Alexander's Statement on Senate Extention of the Voting Rights Act

July 20, 2006 - July 20, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) made the following statement today after voting for H.R. 9, the Voting Rights Reauthorization Bill: “I voted today to extend the Voting Rights Act because it has proven to be the most effective piece of civil rights legislation enacted in this country. In places where there had been a century of deceit and trickery to prevent voting by African-Americans, the Act fulfilled the promise of equal opportunity by making real the provisions of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. “I have supported the Voting Rights Act and its extensions throughout my public career, including those times in the 1970s and 1980s when support for it was not widespread in the south. I am afraid, however, that this Congress has not shown the same courage and foresight that Congress did 40 years ago in fashioning legislation that is certain to withstand the Supreme Court’s constitutional scrutiny or that does the most effective job of protecting minority voting rights in today's changed circumstances. Also, I believe that over time, I would prefer that our nation do more to help Americans learn English well enough so that there is no need for a federal requirement for multilingual ballots. “Despite these concerns, I was proud once again to support the Voting Rights Act and to cast my vote for its extension without amendment.”