Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Voting Rights Act: Renew It

ATLANTA, March 27 — Representative Lynn Westmoreland, a former builder who represents a jigsaw of predominantly white areas just south and west of Atlanta, acknowledges that the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a cornerstone achievement of the civil rights movement, was necessary in its day to register blacks and overturn decades of laws preventing them from voting.

But times have changed, Mr. Westmoreland said.


Not really. It is still rare for blacks to be elected from majority-white districts -- unless the blacks were incumbents in a majority black district that became majority-white through redistricting. Race-based voting continues today. Without the Voting Rights Act in its current state, there would be fewer black congressmen today. Period.

Congress will be considering renewing the Act next month. It's a no-brainer. Renew it.

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