Chabot HR 3899 Meeting Request | Voting Rights Act Of 1965 | Voting Rights In The United States

June 24, 2014

The Hon. Steve Chabot
2239 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman Chabot
We are extremely troubled that you have chosen to cosponsor HR 3899, the Voting Rights Amendment
Act. On behalf of our organizations, and of the millions we collectively represent, we respectfully
request an opportunity to meet with you to discuss this bill and your participation with it.
All of us share in the desire to protect every American’s right to vote and to prevent any repeat of the
shameful episodes in American history, when those rights were legally, often violently, denied to many
of our nation’s citizens. However, HR 3899, the Voting Rights Amendment Act, is a step backward, not
forward, in securing American voters’ rights. The truth is, this bill will fundamentally and intentionally
change American elections into race-reliant battlefields where, for the first time in our history, the United
States, as a legal matter, would EXCLUDE a majority of Americans as a class from the full protection of
federal law – based solely on the color of their skin.
It is our hope that you will take a stand in support of equal protection for the rights of all American
voters by withdrawing your sponsorship of this racially discriminatory bill.    
HR 3899 was written in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling to strike down an obsolete
part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that singled out certain states and local jurisdictions for federal
oversight based on 50-year old data. Having long outlived its intended utility, this portion of the Act had
in recent years become an easy mark for exploitation by partisan interests. It had also served as a
transparent excuse for politically partisan federal officials to block common-sense election safeguards
enacted by the states, such as photo voter ID. HR 3899 would grant even greater authority to Attorney
General Eric Holder than was provided under the original Act itself.  It is important to note that the
Supreme Court left the rest of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and its protections against intentional voter
discrimination, intact and in so doing reaffirmed that a citizen’s vote is a civil right guaranteed
to ALL Americans.  
People interested in fair and honest elections – the indispensable requirement for a free people – were
relieved when the Court’s sensible ruling was announced. That is, until HR 3899 was introduced. This
bill would not only send the nation backward, it would give Attorney General Eric Holder and this
Administration a clear pathway to impose unprecedented federal oversight for any and all election law
changes nationwide, not just in certain states as provided under the single section of the 1965 Voting
Rights Act that the Supreme Court struck down.

 Here are just a few of HR 3899’s regressive requirements:

• Forces racial gerrymandering, making race the predominant factor in election boundaries and
advancing the partisan interests of one political party.

• Offers only a vague definition of "voting rights violations” that are needed to retrigger federal
control of elections in a jurisdiction, and even allows objections made by the Attorney General
himself to count as a violation and triggering event. Thus, Eric Holder can, in effect, use his own
findings of disparate impact vs. actual instances of discrimination, as he did with South Carolina’s
voter ID law until it was reversed, in order to justify placing a state under DOJ’s pre-
clearance control.

• Requires that States be placed under DOJ’s pre-clearance requirements whenever DOJ itself
determines that five “voting rights violations” occurred during a 15-year period—even if a state is
itself only cited for a single violation.  This will impact a far greater number of states than the nine
previously covered under the 1965 Act.  Clearly, those nine states will immediately be put back
under DOJ’s pre-clearance regime upon bill signing, but many more states, as well as state and
local jurisdictions, will assuredly follow after myriad groups launch deliberate litigation campaigns
to establish the minimal number of “voting rights violations” needed to trigger DOJ oversight.

• Expands dramatically the Attorney General’s power to challenge “any act prohibited by the 14th or
15th amendment” of the U.S. constitution.  Eric Holder -- the most partisan and ethically challenged
Attorney General in U.S. history – cannot be trusted with this kind of power. It would have allowed
Attorney General Janet Reno to intervene in (or bring) the Bush v. Gore case. It extends the reach
of the Attorney General in this area of law well beyond the authority granted him or her under the
original Voting Rights Act in 1965, and the amendments to it since then. The possibilities for
partisan mischief are limitless.

• Actually codifies racial discrimination INTO the law, protecting only certain categories of citizens,
not all Americans, because it specifically and explicitly excludes “non-minorities” from the full
protection of the Voting Rights Act under some parts of the bill – despite convictions and other
documented Voting Rights Act violations by minorities, as well as non-minorities, across the
country. 

Congressman Chabot, given the wide range of issues you deal with on a daily basis, we understand
you may not have been able to fully appreciate the ramifications of HR 3899, as written. We will be glad
to share our organizations’ analyses, discuss our concerns, and most importantly, work together to
protect the hard won civil rights of all Americans by preventing this socially destructive, discriminatory
piece of legislation from advancing before it is fixed.  
We will contact your staff this week in an effort to coordinate a convenient meeting time in your
Washington, D.C. office.

Sincerely,

Gregg Phillips Hon. Ken Blackwell Gen. Ed Meese
VotersTrust SOSforSOS Super PAC American Civil Rights Union



Catherine Engelbrecht Christian Adams Anita MonCrief
True the Vote Election Law Center Black Conservatives Fund


CC: Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner


Georgia Republican Delegation
Rep. Jack Kingston
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