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Letter: Remember the Voting Rights Act

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In celebration of our Independence Day, the League of Women Voters: Park Rapids State Unit, would like to thank all area citizens who took the time to educate themselves about the candidates and issues and exercised their right to vote. The high rate of voter participation in Hubbard County shows that we take our right to vote seriously.

The League also would like to thank all the election officials, poll workers etc. that make Minnesota a leader in supporting everyone’s right to vote. But in light of the recent Supreme Court decision of Shelby County v. Holder, the League realizes that we still need to be vigilant to ensure that all eligible citizens can participate.

In this decision the Supreme Court struck down the language in the 1965 Voting Rights Act that required states or counties with certain patterns of voting discrimination to get prior clearance for any changes in their voting procedures. The actual part that was declared unconstitutional was the formula that determines which states fall into this category. Without this formula, the act has no substance.

The Voting Rights Act has been the “backbone” of the progress the United States has made in ensuring equal rights and access to the polls for all citizens. The disabling of this section could lead to more discrimination as groups try to manipulate the voting rules to favor their candidates. Since its formation during the women’s suffrage movement, the League of Women Voters has been at the forefront of the fight to protect voting rights.

As the League of Women Voters President Elisabeth MacNamara stated: “We will be going to Congress to fix this issue and ask them to restore the Voting Rights Act to its full strength. Solutions for voters are required on an issue as fundamental as the voting rights of all Americans.”

The Park Rapids League is inviting all citizens who care about voting rights to join our local league this year to learn more about this issue and help Congress find a positive solution that will apply to all the states. For more information follow us on Facebook: League of Women Voters: Park Rapids State Unit or email us at prapidsleague@gmail.com.

Carolynne White

President of LWV Park Rapids

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