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Civil Rights Leaders Meet with President Obama on Voting Rights

Al Sharpton and other voting rights advocates speak with press after meeting with President Obama. (Photo Credit: Freddie Allen)

By Freddie Allen

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – The Voting Rights Act is down, but not out and civil rights leaders joined President Obama and Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. at the White House to discuss renewed efforts in the fight against voter discrimination.

In a statement released after the meeting, Al Sharpton, civil rights activist and president of the National Action Network said: “Today the United States President and Attorney General met with a broad coalition of civil rights and voting rights leaders to assure us that they will continue to work with us to protect every American’s right to vote.”

Sharpton continued: “We had a great alarm when the Supreme Court ruled against Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act but after meeting with the President and the Attorney General we were assured that the Voting Rights Act may be wounded but it is not dead. It is not even critically wounded; it can and will be revived.”

Last month, the Supreme Court, struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, effectively neutering what many called the crown jewel of the Civil Rights Movement. Section 4 required all or parts of 15 states with track records of voter discrimination to get “preclearance” from the Justice Department or a federal court for any changes they wanted to make to voting laws. Within hours after the Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, a number of state lawmakers from previously covered states announced plans to move forward with restrictive voting laws that disproportionately affect minorities, the elderly and young voters.

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