Cynthia's Interests

The world as it unfolds - told from an African American woman's perspective...

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Will African Americans lose their right to vote in 2007?

I've been hearing more and more lately that African Americans are soon to lose their rights to vote in 2007 and this morning again I heard it on Cliff Kelly show that we should make sure that we rally behind this issue. I decided to do a little research on the issue because I didn't fully understand how the voting rights of African Americans could be in jeopardy.

The Voting Rights Act, adopted initially in 1965 and extended in 1970, 1975, and 1982, is generally considered the most successful piece of civil rights legislation ever adopted by the United States Congress. The Act codifies and effectuates the 15th Amendment's permanent guarantee that, throughout the nation, no person shall be denied the right to vote on account of race or color. In addition, the Act contains several special provisions that impose even more stringent requirements in certain jurisdictions throughout the country.

Congress renewed in 1982 the special provisions of the Act, triggered by coverage under Section 4 for twenty-five years. Congress also adopted a new standard, which went into effect in 1985, providing how jurisdictions could terminate (or "bail out" from) coverage under the provisions of Section 4. This is why Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr is talking about this issue and others are saying that our rights to vote are in jeopardy.

According to, this is an Urban legend, this is a complete an utter hoax, they went on to say that African-American voting rights were granted by the Fifteenth Amendment, which was passed immediately after the Civil War. And, that the expiration of the Voting Rights Act will not terminate the rights granted under the Fifteenth Amendment.

If this is a hoax and our rights to vote will not expire, then why was a voting rights act needed in 1965 to protect African Americans rights to vote in the first place? And furthermore, why was this act extended several times, which is slated to end in 2007? So is this a hoax or not? I'm still not sure...

Even the NAACP had this to say about the topic: The scary part about this misinformation is the number of people in our community who seem to have accepted it without investigation. We must be better prepared if we expect to be able to effectively exercise the rights we have!

A Time Line of African American History, 1852-1880 that proves we should at least have the right to vote under the Fifteenth Amendment. So again, the question becomes, how can our rights to vote be in jeopardy of expiring in the year 2007? All of this still doesn't make sense to me unless African Americans are not considered citizens under the constitution (which doesn't make sense). If we are covered under the 15th amendment as the NAACP thinks, who incidentally says that this is a hoax, then why was the voting rights act of 1965 created to protect African Americans rights to vote?

Is this a hoax that Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. has endorsed (who is a reputable lawyer) and Cliff Kelly is peddling to the African American community? You decide....

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