Conservatives should embrace Jim Sensenbrenner’s efforts to update the Voting Rights Act, writes conservative columnist Armstrong Williams in a column yesterday. Williams notes that the Voting Rights Act—a tool to prevent discriminatory practices used to deny people, particularly people of color, the right to vote for years—was a bipartisan piece of legislation. He now calls on conservatives to update the VRA in the aftermath of Shelby County v. Holder, which gutted the law and left it unenforceable.
In his column, Williams pays homage to the work Republicans on Capitol Hill have done to ensure the right to vote for African Americans.
“Republicans have had a long history of protecting voting rights. In 1965, only one Senate Republican and only 20 House Republicans opposed the conference report that was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson. Thirty voted for it in the Senate, and 111 voted for it in the House, but those votes proved to be crucially important to get the bill over the top.
"In 2006, no Senate Republican voted against the 25-year extension and only 33 House Republicans voted no. Keep in mind, that in 2006, Republicans were in control of the House, the Senate and the White House. It was Republican leadership that made the extension possible. You can make the case that without the Republican Party, voting rights would have never been protected in this country.”