The 33 GOP Representatives Who Opposed the Voting Rights Act Extension

It is generally agreed that that for blacks to continue to make progress in higher education, African Americans must play a major role in the political process in this country. With a strong voice at the polls, blacks can ensure that Congress will continue to fund the Pell grant and other federal financial aid programs for low-income students. Black voter strength can also lead to the election of governors and even presidents who will appoint judges who will rule favorably on issues such as affirmative action and black-only scholarships. Without electoral clout, support for the nation’s historically black colleges and universities will be in jeopardy.

Thus, it is imperative for black voting rights to be protected and for efforts to be made to maintain and increase black electoral power. Recently the House passed, by a vote of 390-33, a 25-year extension to the act which requires jurisdictions, mostly in the South, to submit electoral law changes for federal approval.

All those who voted against the extension were Republicans, most of whom represent districts in the South where the provisions of the act are in effect. There were also several GOP representatives in the Southwest who strongly opposed the provision that ballots be printed in Spanish. In the accompanying box is a list of the 33 GOP representatives who voted against the extension of the Voting Rights Act.

In the Senate, all senators voted to extend the Voting Rights Act.