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109th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     109-478

======================================================================



 
FANNIE LOU HAMER, ROSA PARKS, AND CORETTA SCOTT KING VOTING RIGHTS ACT 
               REAUTHORIZATION AND AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2006

                                _______
                                

  May 22, 2006.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Sensenbrenner, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany H.R. 9]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the bill 
(H.R. 9) to amend the Voting Rights Act of 1965, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment and recommends that the bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
The Amendment....................................................     1
Purpose and Summary..............................................     4
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................     5
Hearings.........................................................    85
Committee Consideration..........................................    85
Vote of the Committee............................................    85
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................    88
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................    88
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................    88
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................    90
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................    90
Section-by-Section Analysis and Discussion.......................    90
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............    95
Markup Transcript................................................   104

                             The Amendment

  The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION. 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and 
Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act 
of 2006''.

SEC. 2. CONGRESSIONAL PURPOSE AND FINDINGS.

    (a) Purpose.--The purpose of this Act is to ensure that the right 
of all citizens to vote, including the right to register to vote and 
cast meaningful votes, is preserved and protected as guaranteed by the 
Constitution.
    (b) Findings.--The Congress finds the following:
            (1) Significant progress has been made in eliminating first 
        generation barriers experienced by minority voters, including 
        increased numbers of registered minority voters, minority voter 
        turnout, and minority representation in Congress, State 
        legislatures, and local elected offices. This progress is the 
        direct result of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
            (2) However, vestiges of discrimination in voting continue 
        to exist as demonstrated by second generation barriers 
        constructed to prevent minority voters from fully participating 
        in the electoral process.
            (3) The continued evidence of racially polarized voting in 
        each of the jurisdictions covered by the expiring provisions of 
        the Voting Rights Act of 1965 demonstrates that racial and 
        language minorities remain politically vulnerable, warranting 
        the continued protection of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
            (4) Evidence of continued discrimination includes--
                    (A) the hundreds of objections interposed, requests 
                for more information submitted followed by voting 
                changes withdrawn from consideration by jurisdictions 
                covered by the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and section 5 
                enforcement actions undertaken by the Department of 
                Justice in covered jurisdictions since 1982 that 
                prevented election practices, such as annexation, at-
                large voting, and the use of multi-member districts, 
                from being enacted to dilute minority voting strength;
                    (B) the number of requests for declaratory 
                judgments denied by the United States District Court 
                for the District of Columbia;
                    (C) the continued filing of section 2 cases that 
                originated in covered jurisdictions; and
                    (D) the litigation pursued by the Department of 
                Justice since 1982 to enforce sections 4(e), 4(f)(4), 
                and 203 of such Act to ensure that all language 
                minority citizens have full access to the political 
                process.
            (5) The evidence clearly shows the continued need for 
        Federal oversight in jurisdictions covered by the Voting Rights 
        Act of 1965 since 1982, as demonstrated in the counties 
        certified by the Attorney General for Federal examiner and 
        observer coverage and the tens of thousands of Federal 
        observers that have been dispatched to observe elections in 
        covered jurisdictions.
            (6) The effectiveness of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has 
        been significantly weakened by the United States Supreme Court 
        decisions in Reno v. Bossier Parish II and Georgia v. Ashcroft, 
        which have misconstrued Congress' original intent in enacting 
        the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and narrowed the protections 
        afforded by section 5 of such Act.
            (7) Despite the progress made by minorities under the 
        Voting Rights Act of 1965, the evidence before Congress reveals 
        that 40 years has not been a sufficient amount of time to 
        eliminate the vestiges of discrimination following nearly 100 
        years of disregard for the dictates of the 15th amendment and 
        to ensure that the right of all citizens to vote is protected 
        as guaranteed by the Constitution.
            (8) Present day discrimination experienced by racial and 
        language minority voters is contained in evidence, including 
        the objections interposed by the Department of Justice in 
        covered jurisdictions; the section 2 litigation filed to 
        prevent dilutive techniques from adversely affecting minority 
        voters; the enforcement actions filed to protect language 
        minorities; and the tens of thousands of Federal observers 
        dispatched to monitor polls in jurisdictions covered by the 
        Voting Rights Act of 1965.
            (9) The record compiled by Congress demonstrates that, 
        without the continuation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 
        protections, racial and language minority citizens will be 
        deprived of the opportunity to exercise their right to vote, or 
        will have their votes diluted, undermining the significant 
        gains made by minorities in the last 40 years.

SEC. 3. CHANGES RELATING TO USE OF EXAMINERS AND OBSERVERS.

    (a) Use of Observers.--Section 8 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 
(42 U.S.C. 1973f) is amended to read as follows:
    ``Sec. 8. (a) Whenever--
            ``(1) a court has authorized the appointment of observers 
        under section 3(a) for a political subdivision; or
            ``(2) the Attorney General certifies with respect to any 
        political subdivision named in, or included within the scope 
        of, determinations made under section 4(b), unless a 
        declaratory judgment has been rendered under section 4(a), 
        that--
                    ``(A) the Attorney General has received written 
                meritorious complaints from residents, elected 
                officials, or civic participation organizations that 
                efforts to deny or abridge the right to vote under the 
                color of law on account of race or color, or in 
                contravention of the guarantees set forth in section 
                4(f)(2) are likely to occur; or
                    ``(B) in the Attorney General's judgment 
                (considering, among other factors, whether the ratio of 
                nonwhite persons to white persons registered to vote 
                within such subdivision appears to the Attorney General 
                to be reasonably attributable to violations of the 14th 
                or 15th amendment or whether substantial evidence 
                exists that bona fide efforts are being made within 
                such subdivision to comply with the 14th or 15th 
                amendment), the assignment of observers is otherwise 
                necessary to enforce the guarantees of the 14th or 15th 
                amendment;
        the Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall assign 
        as many observers for such subdivision as the Director may deem 
        appropriate.
    ``(b) Except as provided in subsection (c), such observers shall be 
assigned, compensated, and separated without regard to the provisions 
of any statute administered by the Director of the Office of Personnel 
Management, and their service under this Act shall not be considered 
employment for the purposes of any statute administered by the Director 
of the Office of Personnel Management, except the provisions of section 
7324 of title 5, United States Code, prohibiting partisan political 
activity.
    ``(c) The Director of the Office of Personnel Management is 
authorized to, after consulting the head of the appropriate department 
or agency, designate suitable persons in the official service of the 
United States, with their consent, to serve in these positions.
    ``(d) Observers shall be authorized to--
            ``(1) enter and attend at any place for holding an election 
        in such subdivision for the purpose of observing whether 
        persons who are entitled to vote are being permitted to vote; 
        and
            ``(2) enter and attend at any place for tabulating the 
        votes cast at any election held in such subdivision for the 
        purpose of observing whether votes cast by persons entitled to 
        vote are being properly tabulated.
    ``(e) Observers shall investigate and report to the Attorney 
General, and if the appointment of observers has been authorized 
pursuant to section 3(a), to the court.''.
    (b) Modification of Section 13.--Section 13 of the Voting Rights 
Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 1973k) is amended to read as follows:
    ``Sec. 13. (a) The assignment of observers shall terminate in any 
political subdivision of any State--
            ``(1) with respect to observers appointed pursuant to 
        section 8 or with respect to examiners certified under this Act 
        before the date of the enactment of the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa 
        Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization 
        and Amendments Act of 2006, whenever the Attorney General 
        notifies the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, or 
        whenever the District Court for the District of Columbia 
        determines in an action for declaratory judgment brought by any 
        political subdivision described in subsection (b), that there 
        is no longer reasonable cause to believe that persons will be 
        deprived of or denied the right to vote on account of race or 
        color, or in contravention of the guarantees set forth in 
        section 4(f)(2) in such subdivision; and
            ``(2) with respect to observers appointed pursuant to 
        section 3(a), upon order of the authorizing court.
    ``(b) A political subdivision referred to in subsection (a)(1) is 
one with respect to which the Director of the Census has determined 
that more than 50 per centum of the nonwhite persons of voting age 
residing therein are registered to vote.
    ``(c) A political subdivision may petition the Attorney General for 
a termination under subsection (a)(1).''.
    (c) Repeal of Sections Relating to Examiners.--Sections 6, 7, and 9 
of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 1973d, 1973e and 1973g) are 
repealed.
    (d)  Substitution of References to ``Observers'' for References to 
``Examiners''.--
            (1) Section 3(a) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 
        U.S.C. 1973a(a)) is amended by striking ``examiners'' each 
        place it appears and inserting ``observers''.
            (2) Section 4(a)(1)(C) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 
        U.S.C. 1973b(a)(1)(C)) is amended by inserting ``or observers'' 
        after ``examiners''.
            (3) Section 12(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 
        U.S.C. 1973j(b)) is amended by striking ``an examiner has been 
        appointed'' and inserting ``an observer has been assigned''.
            (4) Section 12(e) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 
        U.S.C. 1973j(e)) is amended--
                    (A) by striking ``examiners'' and inserting 
                ``observers''; and
                    (B) by striking ``examiner'' each place it appears 
                and inserting ``observer''.
    (e) Conforming Changes Relating to Section References.--
            (1) Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 
        U.S.C. 1973b(b)) is amended by striking ``section 6'' and 
        inserting ``section 8''.
            (2) Subsections (a) and (c) of section 12 of the Voting 
        Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 1973j(a) and 1973j(c)) are each 
        amended by striking ``7,''.
            (3) Section 14(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 
        U.S.C. 1973l(b)) is amended by striking ``or a court of appeals 
        in any proceeding under section 9''.

SEC. 4. RECONSIDERATION OF SECTION 4 BY CONGRESS.

    Paragraphs (7) and (8) of section 4(a) of the Voting Rights Act of 
1965 (42 U.S.C. 1973b(a)) are each amended by striking ``Voting Rights 
Act Amendments of 1982'' and inserting ``Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, 
and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments 
Act of 2006''.

SEC. 5. CRITERIA FOR DECLARATORY JUDGMENT.

    Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 1973c) is 
amended--
            (1) by inserting ``(a)'' before ``Whenever'';
            (2) by striking ``does not have the purpose and will not 
        have the effect'' and inserting ``neither has the purpose nor 
        will have the effect''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following:
    ``(b) Any voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or 
standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting that has the 
purpose of or will have the effect of diminishing the ability of any 
citizens of the United States on account of race or color, or in 
contravention of the guarantees set forth in section 4(f)(2), to elect 
their preferred candidates of choice denies or abridges the right to 
vote within the meaning of subsection (a) of this section.
    ``(c) The term `purpose' in subsections (a) and (b) of this section 
shall include any discriminatory purpose.
    ``(d) The purpose of subsection (b) of this section is to protect 
the ability of such citizens to elect their preferred candidates of 
choice.''.

SEC. 6. EXPERT FEES AND OTHER REASONABLE COSTS OF LITIGATION.

    Section 14(e) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 1973l(e)) 
is amended by inserting ``, reasonable expert fees, and other 
reasonable litigation expenses'' after ``reasonable attorney's fee''.

SEC. 7. EXTENSION OF BILINGUAL ELECTION REQUIREMENTS.

    Section 203(b)(1) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 
1973aa-1a(b)(1)) is amended by striking ``2007'' and inserting 
``2032''.

SEC. 8. USE OF AMERICAN COMMUNITY SURVEY CENSUS DATA.

    Section 203(b)(2)(A) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 
1973aa-1a(b)(2)(A)) is amended by striking ``census data'' and 
inserting ``the 2010 American Community Survey census data and 
subsequent American Community Survey data in 5-year increments, or 
comparable census data''.

SEC. 9. STUDY AND REPORT.

    The Comptroller General shall study the implementation, 
effectiveness, and efficiency of the current section 203 of the Voting 
Rights Act of 1965 and alternatives to the current implementation 
consistent with that section. The Comptroller General shall report the 
results of that study to Congress not later than 1 year after the date 
of the enactment of this Act.

                          Purpose and Summary

    The purpose of H.R. 9 is to: (1) extend Section 4(a)(8) and 
Section 203(b)(1), the temporary provisions of the Voting 
Rights Act of 1965 currently set to expire on August 6, 2007, 
for another 25 years; and (2) amend Section 3(a), Section 4, 
Section 5, Section 6, Section 7, Section 8, Section 9, Section 
14, and Section 203. These changes are necessary to update 
certain provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (the 
``VRA'') to reflect the current voting environment and to 
restore the original intent of Congress in enacting the 
temporary provisions of the VRA.

                Background and Need for the Legislation

    H.R. 9 results from the development of one of the most 
extensive legislative records in the Committee on the 
Judiciary's history.

                     LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF H.R. 9

Oversight Hearings
    Prior to introducing H.R. 9, the House Committee on the 
Judiciary held ten oversight hearings before the Subcommittee 
on the Constitution examining the effectiveness of the 
temporary provisions of the VRA over the last 25 years. During 
these oversight hearings, the Subcommittee heard oral testimony 
from 39 witnesses, including State and local elected officials, 
scholars, attorneys, and other representatives from the voting 
and civil rights community. The Committee also received 
additional written testimony from the Department of Justice, 
other interested governmental and non-governmental 
organizations (NGOs), and private citizens. In all, the 
Committee assembled over 12,000 pages of testimony, documentary 
evidence and appendices from over 60 groups and individuals, 
including several Members of Congress.
    In addition to the oral and written testimony, the 
Committee requested, received, and incorporated into its 
hearing record two comprehensive reports that have been 
compiled by NGOs that have expertise in voting rights 
litigation and extensively documented: (1) the extent to which 
discrimination against minorities in voting has and continues 
to occur; and (2) the continued need for the expiring 
provisions of the VRA. The Committee also requested, received, 
and incorporated into its record 11 separate reports that 
document the extent to which discrimination occurred in 11 of 
the 16 States covered in whole or in part under Section 4(b) 
over the last 25 years. Those reports also describe the impact 
that the VRA has had on protecting racial and language minority 
citizens from discriminatory voting techniques in those 
jurisdictions.
Legislative Hearings
    In addition to ten oversight hearings, the Subcommittee on 
the Constitution held two legislative hearings on May 4, 2006, 
to examine H.R. 9. During these hearings, the Committee 
received oral and written testimony from seven additional 
witnesses concerning: (1) the impact that H.R. 9 will have on 
continuing the progress that minority groups have made in the 
last forty years and on protecting racial and language minority 
voters over the next 25 years; and (2) the need for H.R. 9 to 
update the VRA's temporary provisions, and to restore the VRA 
to its original intent so that it can continue to be an 
effective remedy in addressing the history and continuing 
vestiges of racial discrimination.

             COMMITTEE STATEMENT ON THE RIGHT TO VOTE AND 
                     THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 1965

    The right to vote is the most fundamental right in our 
democratic system of government because its effective exercise 
is preservative of all others.\1\ Prior to the enactment of the 
VRA, parts of the United States condoned the unequal treatment 
of certain citizens, including denying the most fundamental 
right of citizenship--the right to vote. The vestiges of such 
discrimination continue today. In enacting the VRA in 1965, 
Congress sought to protect the Nation's most vulnerable 
citizens' right to vote. In renewing and extending the VRA, 
Congress sought to ensure that even greater numbers of our 
citizens were protected, including citizens whose primary 
language is not English,\2\ and to ensure that all aspects of 
the right to vote are protected, including the right to cast a 
meaningful ballot.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\ Reynolds v. Simms, 377 U.S. 533 (1964).
    \2\ See Katzenbach v. Morgan, 384 U.S. 641 (1966) and Gaston County 
v. United States, 395 U.S. 285 (1969) (finding that the ability to vote 
cannot be denied because of lack of knowledge of the English language).
    \3\ Allen v. State Board of Elections, 393 U.S. 544 (1969); 
Reynolds, and H.R. Rep. 94-196 (1975), H.R. Rep. 97-227 (1982)to 
accompany H.R. 6219 (Pub. L. No. 94-73) and H.R. 3112 (Pub. L. No. 97-
205).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Substantial progress has been made over the last 40 years. 
Racial and language minority citizens register to vote, cast 
ballots, and elect candidates of their choice at levels that 
well exceed those in 1965 and 1982. The success of the VRA is 
also reflected in the diversity of our Nation's local, State, 
and Federal Governments. These successes are the direct result 
of the extraordinary steps that Congress took in 1965 to enact 
the VRA and in reauthorizing the temporary provisions in 1970, 
1975, 1982, and 1992.
    Despite these successes, the Committee finds that the 
temporary provisions of the VRA are still needed. 
Discrimination today is more subtle than the visible methods 
used in 1965. However, the effect and results are the same, 
namely a diminishing of the minority community's ability to 
fully participate in the electoral process and to elect their 
preferred candidates of choice.
    Forty years ago, Congress passed the VRA to help ensure 
that the rights of citizenship were extended to all its 
citizens.\4\ Despite the substantial progress that has been 
made, the evidence before the Committee resembles the evidence 
before Congress in 1965 and the evidence that was present again 
in 1970, 1975, 1982, and 1992. In 2006, the Committee finds 
abundant evidentiary support for reauthorization of VRA's 
temporary provisions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\ See Reynolds (citing racially based gerrymandering); Gomillion 
v. Lightfoot, 364 U.S. 339 (1960), (regarding the conduct of white 
primaries); and Nixon v. Herndon, 273 U.S. 536 (1927); Nixon v. Condon, 
286 U.S. 73 (1932); Smith v. Allwright, 321 U.S. 649 (1944); Terry v. 
Adams, 345 U.S. 461 (1953) (as activities that unconstitutionally 
result in denying some citizens their ability to vote).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

       NEED FOR THE ORIGINAL VRA AND SUBSEQUENT REAUTHORIZATIONS

Initial Need--Voting Rights Act of 1965
    In 1965, Congress was presented with a record revealing 
more than 95 years of pervasive racial discrimination in 
certain areas of the country. The record was replete with 
evidence demonstrating that, despite the 13th amendment 
signaling the end of the Civil War \5\ and the ratification of 
the 14th and 15th amendments recognizing the government's 
commitment to equal treatment and protection under the law,\6\ 
certain State and local government entities continued to defy 
mandates under the Constitution and Federal law. Congress was 
presented with evidence demonstrating that racial 
discrimination was most pronounced in the electoral process 
where minorities were openly denied the right to participate in 
the political process by State and local officials.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\ Ratified in 1865.
    \6\ Ratified in 1868 and 1870, respectively.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Testimony presented to Congress revealed that the primary 
method of keeping minorities from participating in the election 
process was through the administration of State constitutional 
amendments and statutorily-authorized tests and devices, such 
as literacy tests, moral character requirements, and 
interpretation tests, which required African-Americans to 
interpret certain passages of various documents during the 
voting registration process. In particular, Congress was 
presented with evidence, beginning in the 1900's, that showed 
States, such as Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, Virginia, 
Georgia, and Louisiana administered reading or writing 
requirements prior to allowing its citizens the right to 
register to vote. Mississippi, Virginia, South Carolina, and 
Louisiana authorized the administration of tests allegedly 
gauging proficiency in the U.S. Constitution. Georgia, Alabama, 
Mississippi, and Louisiana authorized and administered tests of 
moral character.\7\ These schemes and devices successfully kept 
minorities from participating in the most fundamental aspects 
of the political process, and ultimately denied them any type 
of representation in local, State, and Federal Governmental 
affairs.\8\ This lack of representation left African-Americans 
without a voice in the decision making process as it related to 
education, housing, employment, transportation, and other areas 
of important interest to African-American constituents.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\ See H.R. Rep. No. 89-439, at 7 (1965) (``Prevalence of Voting 
Discrimination Through the Use of Devices'') and S. Rep. No. 89-162, at 
32 (1965) (describing State legislation establishing voting 
requirements).
    \8\ Prior to the VRA, registration statistics in Alabama, Georgia, 
Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia 
were 19.3, 27.4, 31.6, 6.7, 46.8, 37.3, and 38.3 percent, respectively. 
See H.R. Rep 94-196, at 6 (1975)(compiling voting registration 
statistics).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Congress was also presented with the reality that the civil 
rights laws enacted in 1957, 1960, and 1964, pursuant to its 
authority under the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments \9\ proved 
to be insufficient in addressing and remedying ongoing 
discrimination in voting.\10\ The examples of cases that had 
been pursued to enforce the prohibitions on voting 
discrimination revealed that a ``case by case'' approach was 
ineffective in protecting the rights of minority citizens and 
had become too time-consuming, costly, and cumbersome, in some 
cases taking more than several years to resolve.\11\ More 
importantly, Congress was presented with direct evidence that 
despite decisions of the Federal courts striking down the use 
of certain tests and devices as unconstitutional, and the 
efforts of the Federal Government to enforce the civil rights 
statutes and governing decisions, State and local officials 
defied these Federal efforts by simply administering new and 
novel discriminatory schemes and devices.\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \9\ Collectively known as the ``Civil War Amendments.''
    \10\ See S. Rep. No. 89-162 (1965) (stating that three times within 
the past 8 years Congress has attempted to secure the constitutional 
right to vote free from racial discrimination, and that those attempts 
have not been fully successful).
    \11\ Id. at 35 (describing history of litigation against Dallas 
County, Alabama).
    \12\ Id. at 33.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Voting Rights Act
    In passing the VRA, including the temporary provisions set 
forth in Sections 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, Congress sought to 
provide swift relief to those citizens who had been victims of 
discriminatory voting tactics for far too long. The temporary 
provisions brought certain jurisdictions under the scrutiny of 
Federal law, pursuant to Section 4 (trigger formula), Section 5 
(preclearance), and Sections 6 through 8 (Federal examiner and 
observer programs) and were recognized as necessary remedies to 
address the widespread injury caused by discriminatory 
practices that had been employed by certain States and 
political subdivisions. Congress, in justifying its oversight 
of traditional State functions, observed ``when State power is 
abused, it is subject to Federal action by Congress . . . under 
the 15th amendment.''\13\ In particular, Congress found ``there 
is little basis for supposing that without action, the States 
and subdivisions affected will themselves remedy the present 
situation in view of the history of the adoption and 
administration of the several tests and devices reached by the 
bill.'' \14\ Thus, to keep minorities from continuing to be 
victimized by States and political subdivisions' actions, 
Congress sought, through the temporary provisions, to ``shift 
the benefit of time and inertia from the perpetrators of evil 
to the victim.'' \15\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \13\ Id.
    \14\ Id.
    \15\ See South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U.S. 301 (1966).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Upholding the constitutionality of the temporary provisions 
of the VRA, the Supreme Court, in South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 
recognized Congress's broad authority to remedy the history of 
discrimination in voting.\16\ Reiterating that States ``have 
broad powers to determine the conditions under which the right 
of suffrage may be exercised,'' the Court held ``such 
insulation is not carried over when State power is used as an 
instrument for circumventing a Federally protected right.'' 
\17\ Citing the enforcement powers granted to Congress under 
the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments, the Court upheld the 
temporary provisions as a ``legitimate response to the problem 
for which there is ample precedent.'' \18\ The Court further 
acknowledged the ``uncommon exercise of congressional power,'' 
but emphasized that ``exceptional conditions can justify 
legislative measures not otherwise appropriate.'' \19\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \16\ See 383 U.S. 301 (1966).
    \17\ Id. at 325 (citing Gomillion v. Lightfoot, 364 U.S. at 347).
    \18\ Id. at 328.
    \19\ Id. at 334 (emphasis added).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Continued Need for the Temporary Provisions Reauthorization of the 
        Voting Rights Act in 1970, 1975, 1982, 1992, and 2006
    In reauthorizing the VRA on four separate occasions, 
Congress determined that the ``exceptional conditions'' cited 
in Katzenbach continued to exist in 1970, 1975, 1982, and 1992 
such that Congress appropriately found that the temporary 
provisions were still needed. On each occasion, Congress 
examined the extent to which minority citizens were able to 
fully participate in the electoral process and weighed the 
record against the continued need for the temporary provisions. 
On each occasion, Congress found it necessary to continue the 
temporary provisions to ensure that minority voters continued 
to be protected in exercising their right to electoral 
franchise.\20\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \20\ The VRA withstood two additional constitutional challenges in 
1970 and 1980. In 1970, in Oregon v. Mitchell, 400 U.S. 112 (1970), the 
Supreme Court upheld the nationwide ban on literacy tests citing ``the 
long history of the discriminatory use of literacy tests to 
disenfranchise voters on account of race. And, as to the Nation as a 
whole, Congress had before it statistics which demonstrate that voter 
registration and voter participation are consistently greater in States 
without literacy tests.'' In 1980, the VRA withstood a third 
constitutional challenge in City of Rome v. United States, 446 U.S. 
156,180 (1980). Although recognizing broad improvements in minority 
voting registration since the implementation of the VRA in 1965, the 
Supreme Court again deferred to Congress's record that ``significant 
disparity persisted between percentages of whites and Negroes 
registered in at least several of the covered jurisdictions'' in 
upholding the constitutionality of the VRA. Citing Congress's 
consideration of the relatively ``minor positions'' held by African-
Americans and none having held ``statewide office and their number in 
the State legislatures fell far short of being representative of the 
number of Negroes residing in the covered jurisdictions,'' as evidence 
of the continued need for the VRA, the Court reiterated that ``Congress 
gave careful consideration to the propriety of readopting Section 5's 
pre-clearance requirement.'' Id. at 181.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
1970 Amendments and Extension
    In 1970, Congress reviewed the progress that had been made 
by minorities over the preceding 5 years and extended Section 
4's covered jurisdiction status and Section 5's pre-clearance 
requirement for an additional 5 years. In extending the 
temporary provisions, Congress determined that there had been a 
lack of enforcement by the Department of Justice. A ``5 year 
cooling off period imposed by the bill . . . is both reasonable 
and necessary to permit the dissipation of the long established 
political atmosphere and tradition of discrimination in voting 
because of color in those States and subdivisions in which 
literacy tests and low registration have gone hand in hand.'' 
\21\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \21\ H.R. Rep. No. 91-397, at 4 (1970).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
1975 Amendments and Extension
    In 1975, Congress determined that there was a continued 
need for the temporary provisions and extended the protections 
for an additional 7 years. In extending Section 4 and Section 5 
for another 7 years, Congress found that ``while minority 
political progress [that] has been made under the Voting Rights 
Act is undeniable . . . the nature of that progress has been 
limited. It has been modest and spotty insofar as there are 
continuing and significant deficiencies yet existing in 
minority registration and political participation.'' \22\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \22\ H.R. Rep. No. 94-196, at 7 (1975).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In addition, Congress was presented with substantial 
evidence demonstrating the necessity of broadening the 
protections afforded by the VRA to include minority citizens 
who did not speak English. By expanding the temporary 
provisions to include Sections 4(f) and 203 under its 14th 
amendment enforcement power, Congress sought to remedy the 
voting inequities resulting from the disparate treatment 
experienced by language minority citizens in educational 
opportunities. In doing so, Congress ``documented a systematic 
pattern of voting discrimination and exclusion against minority 
group citizens who are from environments in which the dominant 
language is other than English,'' \23\ and ``[b]ased on the 
extensive evidentiary record demonstrating the prevalence of 
voting discrimination and high illiteracy rates among language 
minorities, the [relevant] Subcommittee acted to broaden its 
special coverage to new geographic areas in order to ensure 
protection of the voting rights of language minority 
citizens.'' \24\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \23\ Id.
    \24\ Id. at 16.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
1982 Amendments
    In 1982, Congress extended the temporary provisions of the 
VRA for an additional 25 years. Congress found that ``despite 
the gains in increased minority registration and voting and in 
the number of minority elected officials . . . continued 
manipulation of registration procedures and the electoral 
process, which effectively exclude minority participation from 
all stages of the political process'' continued to occur.\25\ 
Moreover, in extending the temporary provisions for an 
additional 25 years, Congress reiterated its intent ``that 
protection of the franchise extend[] beyond mere prohibition of 
official actions designed to keep voters away from the polls . 
. . [and] include[] prohibition of State actions which so 
manipulate the elections process as to render the vote 
meaningless,'' \26\ including ``at-large elections, high fees 
and bonding requirements, shifts from elective to appointive 
offices, majority vote run-off requirements, residency 
requirements, annexations, incorporations, malapportionment, 
and racial gerrymandering.'' \27\ Congress acknowledged that 
the length of time under which certain States and political 
subdivisions would continue to remain covered was a source of 
concern. To address these concerns, Congress liberalized the 
bailout process, enabling qualified jurisdictions to terminate 
coverage beginning in 1984. In addition, the bailout process 
was amended to allow a political subdivision to terminate 
coverage independent of a covered State.\28\ The Committee 
notes that in amending the bailout process in 1982, it was the 
expectation of Congress that a majority of covered 
jurisdictions would utilize the liberalized bailout procedures 
set forth in Section 4(a), such that few jurisdictions would 
remain covered 25 years later.\29\ For reasons that will be 
more fully discussed, the Committee finds that covered 
jurisdictions have not utilized the bailout process, with all 
but 11 counties from the State of Virginia remaining covered.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \25\ H.R. Rep. No. 97-227, at 14 (1982).
    \26\ Id.
    \27\ Id. at 18.
    \28\ Eleven political subdivisions (counties in these cases) in 
Virginia have successfully terminated ``covered'' status. Virginia 
remains a covered State.
    \29\ See S. Rep. No. 97-417, at 60 (1982).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The 1982 amendments to the VRA also clarified Congress's 
intent with respect to Section 2. Addressing the recent Supreme 
Court decision City of Mobile v. Bolden, Congress amended 
Section 2 to require that plaintiffs bringing lawsuits under 
the section show only that an act resulted in a denial or 
abridgment in the right to vote, rather than require a 
plaintiff prove both purpose and effect.\30\ During the 
Committee's review, it received testimony revealing the impact 
that Section 2 has had over the last 25 years in eliminating 
many of the barriers that continued to exist despite the 
passage of the VRA. Section 2 has been instrumental in paving 
the way for minority voters to more fully participate in the 
political process across the country. Together with Section 5, 
Section 2 has been a driving force in achieving the gains made 
by minorities over the last several decades in the covered 
jurisdictions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \30\ Section 2 was amended in response to the Supreme Court 
decision in City of Mobile v. Bolden, 446 U.S. 55 (1980). Prior to the 
1982 amendments, the Supreme Court interpreted Section 2 to require 
that a plaintiff prove both a discriminatory purpose and a 
discriminatory result to prevail on a vote dilution claim.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
1992 Amendments
    In 1992, Congress extended Section 203 for an additional 15 
years through 2007, at which time, if not renewed, would expire 
along with the remaining temporary provisions. In extending and 
amending Section 203, Congress found that ``the four language 
minority groups covered by Section 203--Hispanics, Asian-
Americans, American Indians, and Alaskan Natives--continue to 
experience educational inequities, high illiteracy rates, and 
as a result low voting participation.'' \31\ In reauthorizing 
Section 203, Congress sought to expand coverage in order to 
reach segments of the language minority populations that 
remained unaided by the VRA. First, finding that a significant 
number of language minority citizens located in large cities 
were not covered under the original formula, Congress 
established a numerical coverage threshold of 10,000 to ensure 
that language minority citizens in large cities would be 
protected even if they did not meet the 5 percent threshold. In 
addition, Congress expressly reaffirmed its commitment to 
assist Native Americans, particularly those who live on 
reservations, as intended beneficiaries of the language 
assistance provisions.\32\ Furthermore, Congress clarified that 
jurisdictions covered under Section 203 were required to 
provide language minorities with not only bilingual election 
materials but also bilingual election assistance, including 
oral assistance and other written election and voting 
assistance, such as instructions, guides, forms, notices, and 
ballots, in response to the needs demonstrated by limited 
English speaking citizens.\33\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \31\ S. Rep. No. 102-315, at 4 (1992).
    \32\ H.R. Rep. No. 102-655, at 4 (1992)(citing ``because many 
Native American communities are divided into two or more counties or 
States, the concentration of Native American populations is frequently 
diluted by the balance of the county population.''). To account for the 
``unique history and demography of Native Americans,'' Congress made 
the 5 percent trigger applicable to entire reservations without regard 
to whether they crossed current jurisdictional boundaries. Id.
    \33\ See Pub. L. No. 102-344.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                      COMMITTEE FINDINGS--PROGRESS

2006
    The Committee's review of the temporary provisions was no 
less extensive in 2006 than in prior years. Forty-six total 
witnesses representing a spectrum of interests appeared before 
the House Judiciary's Subcommittee on the Constitution during 
the Committee's review of the temporary provisions. In 
addition, the Committee received numerous reports and written 
documentation describing personal experiences with regard to 
voting discrimination and the effectiveness of the temporary 
provisions in protecting voters from such conduct over the last 
25 years. The number of witnesses appearing before the 
Committee is consistent with the number of witnesses who 
appeared before Congress during previous reauthorizations of 
the VRA.\34\ The Committee hearing record reflects the breadth 
of interests represented during the hearings and provides the 
Committee with insight into the voting experiences of minority 
citizens over the last 25 years. The direct testimony provided 
by the witnesses, together with the investigative reports 
submitted, support the Committee's conclusion that the gains 
made under the VRA are the direct result of the VRA's temporary 
provisions, and that reauthorization of these provisions is 
both justified and necessary.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \34\ See South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U.S. 301, 308 (1966) 
(``Before enacting the measure, Congress explored with great care the 
problem of racial discrimination in voting. The House and Senate 
Committees on the Judiciary each held hearings for 9 days and received 
testimony from a total of 67 witnesses.'')
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Increased Numbers of Citizens Who Are Registered and Turn Out to Vote
    The record reveals that many of the first generation 
barriers to minority voter registration and voter turnout that 
were in place prior to the VRA have been eliminated. The 
Committee finds that the number of African-Americans who are 
registered and who turn out to cast ballots has increased 
significantly over the last 40 years, particularly since 1982. 
In some circumstances, minorities register to vote and cast 
ballots at levels that surpass those of white voters.
    A chart compiled by the Department of Justice reveals that 
the disparities between African-American and white citizens who 
are registered to vote have narrowed considerably in six 
southern States covered by the temporary provisions (Alabama, 
Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Virginia) 
and in the 40 counties covered in the State of North Carolina. 
For example, the disparity between the percentage of African-
American citizens and the percentage of white citizens who were 
registered to vote in Mississippi narrowed significantly to 6.3 
percent in November 1988, from the 63.2 percent gap experienced 
by African-Americans in March 1965.

                                Chart A: Voter Registration Rates (1965 v. 1988)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        March 1965             November 1988
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                                                   Black   White    Gap    Black   White    Gap
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alabama                                                             19.3    69.2    49.9    68.4    75.0     6.6
Georgia                                                             27.4    62.2    35.2    56.8    63.9     7.1
Louisiana                                                           31.6    80.5    48.9    77.1    75.1    -2.0
Mississippi                                                          6.7    69.9    63.2    74.2    80.5     6.3
North Carolina                                                      46.8    96.8    50.0    58.2    65.6     7.4
South Carolina                                                      37.3    75.7    38.4    56.7    61.8     5.1
Virginia                                                            38.3    61.1    22.8    63.8    68.5     4.7
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    The number of African-Americans who registered to vote and 
who turned out to cast ballots has continued to increase since 
1982. For example, in Texas, 68.4 percent of African-Americans 
were registered to vote in 2004 compared to 61.5 percent of 
white citizens. Moreover, 55.8 percent of African-Americans 
turned out to vote in 2004 compared to 50.6 percent of white 
voters. In Georgia, 64.2 percent of African-Americans were 
registered to vote in 2004 compared to 63.5 percent of white 
citizens, with 54.4 percent of African-Americans turning out to 
vote compared to 53.6 percent of white voters.

                                         Chart B1: Reported Registration by Race in Texas and Outside the South
                                                                        1980-2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                1980   1982   1984   1986   1988   1990   1992   1994   1996   1998   2000   2002   2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TEXAS                                                           56.4   56.6   65.3   66.6   64.2   60.0   63.5   58.5   63.2   62.1   69.5   65.1   68.4
  Black
  White                                                         61.4   59.4   66.0   58.2   66.5   61.1   66.1   59.7   62.7   59.7   61.8   57.7   61.5
  Latino                                                        39.3   43.2   45.2   43.1   45.5   40.0   42.9   39.2   42.7   39.7   43.2   39.1   41.5

NON-SOUTH                                                       60.6   61.7   67.2   63.1   65.9   58.4   63.0   58.3   62.0   58.5   61.7   57.0    NA
  Black
  White                                                         69.3   66.7   70.5   66.2   68.5   64.4   70.9   65.6   68.1   63.9   65.9   63.0    NA
  Latino                                                        35.5   33.9   39.0   33.2   32.4   30.4   32.9   29.1   33.8   31.9   32.7   30.6    NA
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: Various post-election reports by the U.S. Bureau of the Census



                                            Chart B2: Reported Turnout by Race in Texas and Outside the South
                                                                        1980-2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                1980   1982   1984   1986   1988   1990   1992   1994   1996   1998   2000   2002   2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TEXAS                                                           40.7   37.8   51.2   39.8   47.0   38.7   50.1   33.1   47.1   35.5   57.5   44.3   55.8
  Black
  White                                                         52.7   40.6   55.5   37.5   55.2   42.5   57.2   39.4   46.7   33.5   48.1   35.0   50.6
  Latino                                                        29.7   26.8   32.7   23.6   33.2   22.5   33.1   18.9   27.9   15.3   29.5   19.1   29.3

NON-SOUTH                                                       52.8   48.5   58.9   44.2   55.6   38.4   53.8   40.2   51.4   40.4   53.1   39.3    NA
  Black
  White                                                         62.4   53.1   63.0   48.7   60.4   48.2   64.9   49.3   57.4   44.7   57.5   44.7    NA
  Latino                                                        29.8   25.8   32.8   23.8   26.8   20.5   27.4   20.8   26.3   21.4   26.8   18.2    NA
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: Various post-election reports by the U.S. Bureau of the Census


                                        Chart C1: Reported Registration by Race in Georgia and Outside the South
                                                                        1980-2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                1980   1982   1984   1986   1988   1990   1992   1994   1996   1998   2000   2002   2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GEORGIA
  Black                                                         59.8   51.9   58.0   55.3   56.8   57.0   53.9   57.6   64.6   64.1   66.3   61.6   64.2
  White                                                         67.0   59.7   65.7   60.4   63.9   58.1   67.3   55.0   67.8   62.0   59.3   62.7   63.5

NON-SOUTH
  Black                                                         60.6   61.7   67.2   63.1   65.9   58.4   63.0   58.3   62.0   58.5   61.7   57.0    NA
  White                                                         69.3   66.7   70.5   66.2   68.5   64.4   70.9   65.6   68.1   63.9   65.9   63.0    NA
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                           Chart C2: Reported Turnout by Race in Georgia and Outside the South
                                                                        1980-2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                1980   1982   1984   1986   1988   1990   1992   1994   1996   1998   2000   2002   2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GEORGIA
  Black                                                         43.7   32.5   45.9   37.3   42.4   42.3   47.1   30.9   45.6   40.2   51.6   38.5   54.4
  White                                                         56.0   40.7   55.3   40.5   53.2   42.6   58.7   38.3   52.3   36.8   48.3   44.8   53.6

NON-SOUTH
  Black                                                         52.8   48.5   58.9   44.2   55.6   38.4   53.8   40.2   51.4   40.4   53.1   39.3    NA
  White                                                         62.4   53.1   63.0   48.7   60.4   48.2   64.9   49.3   57.4   45.4   57.5   44.7    NA
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: Various post-election reports by the U.S. Bureau of the Census

    In other covered States, such as Louisiana, the gap between 
the number of African-American and white citizens who 
registered to vote and turned out to cast ballots has narrowed, 
with 71.1 percent of African-Americans registering to vote in 
2004 compared to 75.1 percent of whites. Voter turnout among 
African-Americans also increased between 1980 and 2004, with 
62.1 percent of African-Americans turning out to cast ballots 
in 2004, compared to the 60.1 percent of African-Americans who 
turned out in 1980. In addition, the disparity between the 
number of African-Americans and whites who turned out to vote 
in Louisiana in 2004 narrowed to less than 2 percent. (64 
percent of whites compared to 62.1 percent of African-
Americans).

                                       Chart D1: Reported Registration by Race in Louisiana and Outside the South
                                                                        1980-2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                1980   1982   1984   1986   1988   1990   1992   1994   1996   1998   2000   2002   2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LOUISIANA
  Black                                                         69.0   68.5   74.8   71.9   77.1   72.0   82.3   65.7   71.9   69.5   73.5   73.5   71.1
  White                                                         74.5   67.5   73.2   71.4   75.1   74.1   76.2   72.7   74.5   75.2   77.5   74.2   75.1

NON-SOUTH
  Black                                                         60.6   61.7   67.2   63.1   65.9   58.4   63.0   58.3   62.0   58.5   61.7   57.0    NA
  White                                                         69.3   66.7   70.5   66.2   68.5   64.4   70.9   65.6   68.1   63.9   65.9   63.0    NA
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: Various post-election reports by the U.S. Bureau of the Census



                                          Chart D2: Reported Turnout by Race in Louisiana and Outside the South
                                                                        1980-2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                1980   1982   1984   1986   1988   1990   1992   1994   1996   1998   2000   2002   2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LOUISIANA
  Black                                                         60.1   32.0   66.4   55.8   61.5   55.9   71.5   30.9   60.9   46.0   63.2   46.9   62.1
  White                                                         65.6   23.6   64.7   57.5   67.5   50.2   68.3   35.6   62.6   35.7   66.4   51.0   64.0

NON-SOUTH
  Black                                                         52.8   48.5   58.9   44.2   55.6   38.4   53.8   40.2   51.4   40.4   53.1   39.3    NA
  White                                                         62.4   53.1   63.0   48.7   60.4   48.2   64.9   49.3   57.4   45.4   57.5   44.7    NA
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: Various post-election reports by the U.S. Bureau of the Census

Increased Number of African-American Elected Officials
    The Committee finds that the increased number of African-
American citizens who are registered to vote and who have cast 
ballots, together with the protections afforded by the 
temporary provisions against dilutive techniques (discussed 
infra), have resulted in significant increases in the number of 
African-Americans serving in elected offices. As of 2000, more 
than 9,000 African-Americans have been elected to office, an 
increase from the 1,469 officials who held office in 1970. As 
of 2004, 43 African-Americans currently serve in the United 
States Congress, with 42 individuals serving in the United 
States House of Representatives, and one serving in the United 
States Senate. At the State level, more than 482 African-
Americans serve in State legislatures, with thousands more 
African-Americans serving in county, township, and other 
locally elected positions.
    In testimony presented to the Committee, the National 
Commission on the Voting Rights Act reported that the number of 
African-American elected officials serving in the original six 
States covered by the temporary provisions of the Voting Rights 
Act (Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, 
and Alabama) increased by approximately 1000 percent since 
1965, increasing from 345 to 3700. For example, the Committee 
received testimony revealing that citizens in the State of 
Louisiana, which as late as the 1960's maintained all-white 
assemblies, had elected 705 African-Americans to office as of 
2001. Such elected officials include: one Member of the United 
States House of Representatives; nine State Senators; and 22 
State Representatives. In addition, 131 African-Americans had 
been elected to positions on county bodies; 33 African-
Americans had been elected mayor; 219 African-Americans had 
been elected to municipal governing bodies; and one African-
American had been elected to Justice of the State Supreme 
Court. Statistics from South Carolina reveal similar results: 
one Member of the United States House of Representatives has 
been elected, eight African-Americans have been elected to the 
State Senate; 23 African-Americans have been elected to the 
State Legislature; 99 African-Americans have been elected to 
county councils; and 164 have been elected to positions on 
local school boards.
    The progress made by African-Americans in States, such as 
Louisiana and South Carolina, is representative of the progress 
made in other covered States and jurisdictions and demonstrates 
the effectiveness of the temporary provisions in fostering and 
protecting minority participation in the electoral process, 
with the most visible progress occurring at the county and 
local level.

Progress Made by Language Minority Citizens Under Sections 4(f) and 203
    The Committee also finds that Sections 4(f) and 203 have 
been instrumental in fostering progress among language minority 
citizens. Included in the VRA beginning in 1975, Sections 4(f) 
and 203 were enacted in response to substantial evidence 
received by Congress documenting the discrimination and unequal 
educational opportunities experienced by Asian American, Native 
American, Hispanic, and Native Alaskans compared to white 
citizens. Since 1975 and 1992 (when Section 203 was last 
reauthorized), the number of language minority citizens who 
have registered to vote, turned out to vote, and who are 
casting ballots for preferred candidates of their choice has 
increased.

Asian American Citizens
    The Committee received testimony from representatives from 
the Asian American community describing the impact that Section 
203 has had on Asian American citizens. Evidence presented 
shows that ``Section 203 has removed barriers to voting and 
opened up the political process to thousands of Asian 
Americans, many of them first time voters and new citizens.'' 
\35\ Since 1992, ``there have been important gains in Asian 
American electoral representation.'' \36\ The Asian American 
Justice Center (AAJC) reported that as of 2004, 346 Asian 
Americans have been elected to office, including six to Federal 
offices. This is an increase from the 120 such elected 
officials that served in 1978. The AAJC further reported that, 
as of 2004, 260 Asian Americans serve at the local level, up 
from 52 in 1978, with 75 percent of those elected Asian 
Americans representing jurisdictions covered by Section 203. 
Despite these gains, there continues to be widespread non-
compliance with Section 203 in jurisdictions with substantial 
Asian populations. In jurisdictions that are brought into 
compliance with Section 203, there can be an immediate impact. 
A recent Memorandum of Agreement between the Department of 
Justice and Harris County, Texas helped double Vietnamese voter 
turnout, allowing the first Vietnamese candidate in history to 
be elected to the Texas legislature--defeating the incumbent 
chair of the Appropriations Committee by 16 votes out of 40,000 
cast.\37\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \35\ See Letter from Karen K. Narasaki, President and Executive 
Director, Asian American Justice Center to the Honorable Steve Chabot, 
Chairman, Subcommittee on the Constitution (November 22, 2005) 
(describing the impact of Section 203 on Asian-American citizens.).
    \36\ Id.
    \37\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Citizens of Hispanic Origin
    The Committee received similar testimony from the Latino 
and Hispanic community indicating ``the number of registered 
Latino voters grew from 7.6 million in 2000 to 9 million in 
2004.'' \38\ As of 2000, more than 5,200 Latinos had been 
elected to office, including 25 to the United States House of 
Representatives and two to the United States Senate. Consistent 
with the findings reported by the Asian American community, a 
link was also established between the assistance provided to 
citizens under Section 203 and the increased participation of 
Hispanic citizens. For example, the National Commission on the 
Voting Rights Act directed the Committee to ``a causal link 
between effective language assistance and voter turnout. In 
particular . . . the importance Latino citizens attach to 
having election materials, especially registration cards in 
Spanish.'' \39\ This causal link was also confirmed in reports 
presented to the Committee by voting experts residing in 
jurisdictions covered by Sections 4(f) and 203, such as in New 
York City.\40\ It is likewise consistent with the impact of 
enforcement actions brought by the Department of Justice, such 
as in Yakima County, Washington, where Hispanic voter 
registration was up over 24 percent 1 year after the Department 
sued the County.\41\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \38\ See Oversight Hearing, the Voting Rights Act: Section 203--
Bilingual Assistance (Part II), Subcommittee on the Constitution, House 
Committee on the Judiciary, 109th Cong. 1 (November 9, 2005) (statement 
of Juan Cartagena, General Counsel, Community Service Society).
    \39\ See Protecting Minority Voters: The Voting Rights Act at Work 
1982-2005, The National Commission on the Voting Rights Act, February 
2006, at 74.
    \40\ See Juan Cartagena, Final Report on the State of Voting Rights 
in New York City, Including the Impact of Section 5 and Section 203 of 
the Voting Rights Act on Minority Empowerment, February 27, 2006.
    \41\ See Oversight Hearing, the Voting Rights Act: Section 203--
Bilingual Assistance (Part I), Subcommittee on the Constitution, House 
Committee on the Judiciary, 109th Cong. 1 (November 8, 2005) (statement 
of the Honorable Bradley J.Schlozman, Acting Assistant Attorney 
General, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Native Americans and Native Alaskans
    Positive results were also reported by witnesses for the 
Native American and Native Alaskan communities who confirmed 
that ``while turnout by Native Americans has traditionally been 
among the lowest of all communities in the U.S., dramatic 
changes have occurred recently such that, in some places, 
Native and non-Native participation rates are closer than 
ever.'' \42\ In certain cases, the increase in Native American 
voter turnout has increased by more than ``50 to 150 percent.'' 
\43\ Representatives from the Native community also described 
to the Committee the impact that Section 203 has had on grass 
roots participation. The Committee received evidence that the 
number of Native American voter registration drives has 
increased substantially such that a ``direct correlation 
between focused localized commitments to increasing 
participation rates in Native communities and the actual 
increases that result . . . [M]any Native communities have seen 
steady, even significant, increases in registration. . . . In 
recent years, there has been a steady increase in the number of 
Native American candidates who are being elected to local 
school boards, county commissions and State legislatures,'' 
including the election of seven new Alaskan Natives to the 
Alaska State legislature.\44\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \42\ See Oversight Hearing, the Voting Rights Act: Section 203--
Bilingual Assistance (Part II), Subcommittee on the Constitution, House 
Committee on the Judiciary, 109th Cong. 1 (November 9, 2005) (joint 
statement of the National Congress of American Indians and the Native 
American Rights Fund).
    \43\ Id.
    \44\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This evidence demonstrates that the increases in language 
minority citizen registration and turnout rates are most 
significant in jurisdictions that are in compliance with 
Section 203's election assistance requirements. Indeed, the 
Department of Justice reported to the Committee that 
enforcement of Section 203 has resulted in ``significantly 
narrowed gaps in electoral participation. In San Diego County, 
California, Spanish and Filipino registration are up over 21 
percent and Vietnamese registration is up 37 percent.'' \45\ 
The Committee believes that these examples reflect the gains 
that Congress intended language minority citizens to make under 
Sections 4(f) and 203, and concludes that all American citizens 
should have the opportunity to participate in the political 
process.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \45\ See Oversight Hearing, the Voting Rights Act: Section 203--
Bilingual Assistance (Part I), Subcommittee on the Constitution, House 
Committee on the Judiciary, 109th Cong. 1 (November 8, 2005) (statement 
of the Honorable Bradley J. Schlozman, Acting Assistant Attorney 
General, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                      EFFECTIVENESS OF PROVISIONS

Section 5
    The Committee finds that increased participation levels are 
directly attributable to the effectiveness of the VRA's 
temporary provisions. These provisions have protected minority 
voters, especially over the last 25 years and have helped 
minority citizens to: (1) register to vote unchallenged; (2) 
cast ballots unhindered; and (3) cast meaningful votes. The 
Committee finds this to be a significant achievement for 
citizens who historically have been prevented from effectively 
exercising the right to vote.
    In particular, the Committee finds that Sections 5 and 8 
have been vital prophylactic tools, protecting minority voters 
from devices and schemes that continue to be employed by 
covered States and jurisdictions. Section 5, which requires 
jurisdictions covered by the temporary provisions to preclear 
all voting changes before they may be enforced, ensures that 
such voting changes do not discriminate against minority 
voters,\46\ and has been an effective shield against new 
efforts employed by covered jurisdictions. The Department of 
Justice reported that roughly between 4,000 and 6,000 
submissions have been received annually from jurisdictions 
covered by the VRA.\47\ Since 1982, the Department objected to 
more than 700 voting changes that have been determined to be 
discriminatory, preventing such changes from being enforced by 
covered jurisdictions. The Committee received testimony 
revealing that more Section 5 objections were lodged between 
1982 and 2004 than were interposed between 1965 and 1982 and 
that such objections did not encompass minor inadvertent 
changes.\48\ The changes sought by covered jurisdictions were 
calculated decisions to keep minority voters from fully 
participating in the political process. This increased activity 
shows that attempts to discriminate persist and evolve, such 
that Section 5 is still needed to protect minority voters in 
the future.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \46\ See United States v. Beer, 425 U.S.130 (1976).
    \47\ See Oversight Hearing, the Voting Rights Act: Section 5--
History, Scope, and Purpose, Subcommittee on the Constitution, 
Committee on the Judiciary, 109th Cong. 1 (October 25, 2005) (statement 
of the Honorable Bradley J.Schlozman, Acting Assistant Attorney 
General, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice).
    \48\ See Protecting Minority Voters: The Voting Rights Act at Work 
1982-2005, The National Commission on the Voting Rights Act, February 
2006, at 54.

            Chart E: Administrative Review of Voting Changes
                 ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW OF VOTING CHANGES
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      1965-2005 (By Calendar Year)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  ALL SUBMISSIONS    REDISTRICTING PLANS
             Year              -----------------------------------------
                                 Number  Objections   Number  Objections
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             1965                    1            0        0           0
             1966                    2            0        2           0
             1967                    6            0        4           0
             1968                    6            6        0           0
             1969                   15            5       12           0
             1970                   60*           4       25           1
             1971                  331*          66      201          32
             1972                  362           30       97          11
             1973                  345           32       47           6
             1974                  414*          76       55           5
             1975                 1046*          79       53          11
             1976                 2685*         124      335          11
             1977                 1817*          42       79           3
             1978                 1946*          74       48          12
             1979                 1914*          54       53           2
             1980                 2226           32       85           9
             1981                 2240           24      387           8
             1982                 2848           66      452          47
             1983                 3203           52      386          40
             1984                 3975           49      274          16
             1985                 3847           37      235          10
             1986                 4807           41      256          14
             1987                 4478           29      258           8
             1988                 5155           39      322           9
             1989                 3920           30      180           8
             1990                 4809           37      164           6
             1991                 4592           75      916          66
             1992                 5307           77      974          67
             1993                 4421           69      512          40
             1994                 4661           61      325          10
             1995                 3999           19      213           7
             1996                 4729            7      116           3
             1997                 4047            8      105           2
             1998                 4021            8       65           3
             1999                 4012            5       67           1
             2000                 4638            4       49           1
             2001                 4222            7      985           4
             2002                 5910           21     1138          19
             2003                 4628            8      400           5
             2004                 5211            3      241           1
             2005                 3703            1       88           1
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notes:
  *Indicates fiscal year totals
  One submission may contain more than one change.
  This list does not reflect withdrawals of objections
  See Complete Listing of Objections as of July 11, 2005


    Section 5's effectiveness in addressing efforts to 
discriminate was reflected in the various experiences that were 
reported to the Committee. For example, in the case of Dillard 
v. City of Foley, Alabama, Section 5 was instrumental on two 
separate occasions (in 1989 and 1993) in preventing the City of 
Foley from annexing white areas around the City to the 
detriment of primarily African-American areas, such as Mills 
Quarter and Beulah Heights, which were also seeking annexation 
by the City. As part of its effort to enforce Section 5's 
requirements, the ACLU compelled the City to adopt a non-
discriminatory annexation policy, which resulted in annexation 
of Mills Quarter and Beulah Heights, in compliance with Section 
5.\49\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \49\ See Laughlin McDonald, The Case For Extending and Amending the 
Voting Rights Act: Voting Rights Litigation, 1982-2006: A Report of the 
Voting Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (March 
2006) at 51-53 (citing Dillard v. City of Foley, AL, Civ. No. 87-T-1213 
N (M.D. Ala); 926 F.Supp. 1053 (M.D. Ala.); letter from James P. 
Turner, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, U.S. 
DoJ, to Fred Mott, November 6, 1989; letter from James P. Turner, to A. 
Perry Willbourne, August 30, 1993; and letter from Deval L. Patrick, 
Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, U.S. DoJ, to A. 
Perry Willbourne, July 1, 1996.).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Other examples were reported to the Committee. In 1990, the 
City of Monroe, Louisiana attempted to annex white suburban 
wards to its city court jurisdiction. The Department of Justice 
noted in its objection to the City's changes that the wards in 
question had been eligible for annexation since 1970, but there 
had been no interest in annexing them until just after the 
first-ever African-American candidate ran for a seat on the 
Monroe city court.\50\ In 1991, the Concordia Parish Police 
Jury announced that it would reduce its size from nine seats to 
seven, with the intended consequence of eliminating one 
African-American district. The parish made the pretextual claim 
that the reduction was a cost-saving measure, but the 
Department of Justice noted in its objection that the parish 
had seen no need to save money until an influx of African-
American residents transformed the district in question--
originally drawn as a majority-white district--into a majority-
African-American district.\51\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \50\ See Debo Adegbile, Voting Rights in Louisiana: 1982-2006, 
February 2006, at 20 (citing letter from John R. Dunne, Assistant 
Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, U.S. DOJ to Cynthia Young 
Rougeou, Assistant Attorney General, State of Louisiana (Oct. 23, 
1990)).
    \51\ Id. at 21 (citing letter from John R. Dunne, Assistant 
Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, U.S. DOJ, to Robbie Shirley, 
Secretary-Treasurer, Concordia Parish Police Jury (Dec. 23, 1991)).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Additional examples were reported showing how Section 5 has 
been instrumental in preventing covered jurisdictions from 
intentionally reenacting and enforcing changes to which the 
Department of Justice had previously objected. In South 
Carolina, Section 5 was instrumental in preventing the 
Lancaster County School District from attempting to enforce at-
large voting systems, to which objections had already been 
interposed. The General Assembly three times (through Act 1622 
of 1972, Act R 700 of 1976, and Act 601 of 1984) adopted 
staggered terms for the at-large county board of education and 
area school boards. In 1974, 1983, and 1984, the Department 
objected to the same device, explaining that ``[a]s we 
indicated in our previous objections, the use of staggered 
terms in Lancaster County school board elections, where the at-
large system is used and racial bloc voting seems to exist, 
limits the potential for black voters to participate 
effectively in the electoral process by reducing the ability of 
those voters to use single shot voting. . . . Finally, with Act 
602 of 1984, staggered terms were taken off the books for 
Lancaster County school elections.'' \52\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \52\ See John C. Ruoff and Herbert E. Buhl III, Section 5 and the 
Voting Rights Act in South Carolina Since 1982, February 2006, at 20 
(citing letter Wm. Bradford Reynolds to C. Havird Jones, Jr., Esq., 
April 27, 1984 (84-3398)).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As important as the number of objections that have been 
interposed to protect minority voters against discriminatory 
changes, is the number of voting changes that have never gone 
forward as a result of Section 5. The Committee finds that the 
existence of Section 5 deterred covered jurisdictions from even 
attempting to enact discriminatory voting changes. The National 
Commission on the Voting Rights Act reported that ``the 
deterrent effect of Section 5 is substantial. Once officials in 
covered jurisdictions become aware of the logic of 
preclearance, they tend to understand that submitting 
discriminatory changes is a waste of taxpayer time and money 
and interferes with their own timetables, because the chances 
are good that an objection will result.'' \53\ Additional 
testimony confirms Section 5's strong deterrent effect:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \53\ See Protecting Minority Voters: The Voting Rights Act at Work 
1982-2005, The National Commission on the Voting Rights Act, February 
2006, at 57.

        [a]side from blocking the implementation of 
        discriminatory voting changes, Section 5 has a strong 
        deterrent effect. In 2005, the Georgia state 
        legislature redrew its congressional districts, but 
        before doing so it adopted resolutions providing that 
        it must comply with the non-retrogression standard of 
        Section 5. The plan it drew maintained the black voting 
        age population in the two majority black districts 
        (represented by John Lewis and Cynthia McKinney) at 
        almost exactly their pre-existing levels, and it did 
        the same for the other two districts (represented by 
        Sanford Bishop and David Scott) that had elected black 
        Members of Congress. There was no objection by the 
        Department of Justice when the plan was submitted for 
        preclearence. This does not mean, however, that Section 
        5 did play a critical role in the redistricting 
        process. Rather, it means Section 5 encouraged the 
        legislature to ensure that any voting changes would not 
        have a discriminatory effect on minority voters, and 
        that it would not become embroiled in the preclearance 
        process.\54\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \54\ See Laughlin McDonald, The Case For Extending and Amending the 
Voting Rights Act: Voting Rights Litigation, 1982-2006: A Report of the 
Voting Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, March 
2006, at 15.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Section 8
    In addition to Section 5, the Committee finds that Section 
8, the Federal observer provision, has played a critical role 
preventing and deterring discrimination inside polling 
locations over the last 25 years. Section 8, together with 
Section 6, were designed to ensure that those who are eligible 
to register to vote and who want to cast ballots are able to do 
so. Section 8, in particular, was intended to allow the Federal 
Government access inside polling locations where minority 
voters were most vulnerable. The Office of Personnel Management 
reported to the Committee that it has worked with the 
Department of Justice to assign more than 26,000 observers to 
22 States, over the last 40 years, with the greatest number of 
Federal observers having been assigned to Mississippi.\55\ The 
National Commission on the Voting Rights Act further reported 
to the Committee that five of the six States originally covered 
by the VRA (Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and 
Mississippi) accounted for approximately 66 percent of all the 
observer coverages since 1982.\56\ Observers have played a 
critical role preventing and deterring 14th and 15th amendment 
violations by communicating to the Department of Justice any 
allegedly discriminatory conduct for further investigation.\57\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \55\ See Oversight Hearing, The Voting Rights Act: Sections 6 and 
8--The Federal Examiner and Observer Program, Subcommittee on the 
Constitution, Committee on the Judiciary, 109th Cong. 1 (November 15, 
2005) (statement of Nancy Randa, Deputy Associate Director for Talent 
Services, Human Resources, Products, and Services Division, Office of 
Personnel Management).
    \56\ See Protecting Minority Voters: The Voting Rights Act at Work 
1982-2005, The National Commission on the Voting Rights Act, February 
2006, at 61.
    \57\ See Oversight Hearing, The Voting Rights Act: Sections 6 and 
8--The Federal Examiner and Observer Program, Subcommittee on the 
Constitution, Committee on the Judiciary, 109th Cong. 1 (November 15, 
2005).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bailout
    The Committee also finds that the success and effectiveness 
of the VRA's temporary provisions were also reflected by those 
jurisdictions that successfully terminated their covered 
status. Since 1982, 11 counties from the covered State of 
Virginia have successfully bailed out from coverage under 
Section 4. In 1982, Congress amended the bailout provision to 
encourage jurisdictions to end their discriminatory practices 
and to integrate minority voters into the electoral process. 
The Committee was encouraged that the bailout requirements have 
been utilized by some jurisdictions, and believes that the 
success of those jurisdictions illustrates that: (1) covered 
status is neither permanent nor over-broad; and (2) covered 
status has been and continues to be within the control of the 
jurisdiction such that those jurisdictions that have a 
genuinely clean record and want to terminate coverage have the 
ability to do so.

       COMMITTEE FINDINGS--SUBSTANTIAL DISCRIMINATION CONTINUES 
                            TO EXIST IN 2006

    The progress made by minority voters and the covered 
jurisdictions that have terminated their coverage over the last 
25 years reflects the effectiveness of the VRA's temporary 
provisions. The Committee finds, however, that instances of 
discrimination and efforts to discriminate against minority 
voters continue, thus justifying reauthorization of the VRA's 
temporary provisions. These efforts directly affect the ability 
of minority citizens to register to vote and cast meaningful 
ballots.
Disparities in Minority Voter Registration and Voter Turnout
    The Committee received testimony demonstrating continued 
registration and turnout disparities between African-American 
and white citizens in Virginia and South Carolina. In Virginia, 
the percentage of African-Americans who were registered to vote 
in 2004 was 57.4 percent compared to the 68.2 percent for 
whites. The disparity in voter turnout was even greater. Forty-
nine percent of African-Americans turned out to vote in 2004 
compared to 63 percent of whites. In South Carolina, the 
disparity between the percentage of African-Americans and 
whites was narrower than in Virginia, with 64.3 percent of 
African-Americans registered to vote in 1996 compared to 69.7 
percent of white citizens. However, white citizens in South 
Carolina had made substantially more progress in increasing the 
percentage of white citizens who were registered to vote (from 
57.2 percent in 1980 to 69.7 percent in 1996) compared to the 
progress made by African-Americans whose registration rates 
increased by less than 3 percent (from 61.4 percent in 1980 to 
64.3 percent in 1996).

                                        Chart F1: Reported Registration by Race in Virginia and Outside the South
                                                                        1980-2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                1980   1982   1984   1986   1988   1990   1992   1994   1996   1998   2000   2002   2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
VIRGINIA
  Black                                                         49.7   53.6   62.1   66.5   63.8   58.1   64.5   51.1   64.0   53.6   58.0   47.5   57.4
  White                                                         65.4   60.8   63.7   63.3   68.5   61.9   67.2   63.6   68.4   63.5   67.6   64.1   68.2

NON-SOUTH
  Black                                                         60.6   61.7   67.2   63.1   65.9   58.4   63.0   58.3   62.0   58.5   61.7   57.0    NA
  White                                                         69.3   66.7   70.5   66.2   68.5   64.4   70.9   65.6   68.1   63.9   65.9   63.0    NA
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: Various post-election reports by the U.S. Bureau of the Census



                                          Chart F2: Reported Turnout by Race in Virginia and Outside the South
                                                                        1980-2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                1980   1982   1984   1986   1988   1990   1992   1994   1996   1998   2000   2002   2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
VIRGINIA
  Black                                                         42.9   44.3   55.0   42.5   47.7   32.0   59.0   33.8   53.3   23.8   52.7   27.2   49.6
  White                                                         58.3   46.2   57.8   36.8   61.1   39.6   63.4   50.4   58.5   32.4   60.4   37.8   63.0

NON-SOUTH
  Black                                                         52.8   48.5   58.9   44.2   55.6   38.4   53.8   40.2   51.4   40.4   53.1   39.3    NA
  White                                                         62.4   53.1   63.0   48.7   60.4   48.2   64.9   49.3   57.4   44.7   57.5   44.7    NA
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: Various post-election reports by the U.S. Bureau of the Census


                                     Chart G: Reported Registration by Race in South Carolina and Outside the South
                                                                        1980-2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                1980   1982   1984   1986   1988   1990   1992   1994   1996   1998   2000   2002   2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SOUTH CAROLINA
  Black                                                         61.4   53.3   62.2   58.8   56.7   61.9   62.0   59.0   64.3   68.0   68.6   68.3   71.1
  White                                                         57.2   54.5   57.3   56.4   61.8   56.2   69.2   62.6   69.7   67.9   68.2   66.2   74.4

NON-SOUTH
  Black                                                         60.6   61.7   67.2   63.1   65.9   58.4   63.0   58.3   62.0   58.5   61.7   57.0    NA
  White                                                         69.3   66.7   70.5   66.2   68.5   64.4   70.9   65.6   68.1   63.9   65.9   63.0    NA
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: Various post-election reports by the U.S. Bureau of the Census

    With respect to language minority citizens, the disparities 
in registration and turnout rates compared to white citizens 
and voting were much greater. In Florida, 36.7 percent of 
Hispanic citizens were registered to vote in 1996 compared to 
67.8 percent of white citizens. Turnout among Hispanics was 
also substantially lower in 1996 with 29 percent of Hispanic 
voters turning out to cast ballots compared to 52.7 percent of 
white voters. In fact, statistics revealed that turnout among 
Hispanics decreased between the years 1980 and 1996, with 29.3 
percent of Hispanics turning out to vote in 1980 compared to 
the 29 percent of Hispanics who turned out to vote in 1996. In 
the State of Texas, 41.5 percent of Hispanic citizens were 
registered to vote in 2004 compared to 61.5 percent of white 
citizens.

                                        Chart H1: Reported Registration by Race in Florida and Outside the South
                                                                        1980-2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                1980   1982   1984   1986   1988   1990   1992   1994   1996   1998   2000   2002   2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FLORIDA
  Black                                                         58.2   50.3   57.3   61.3   57.7   53.3   54.7   47.2   64.4   50.4   52.7   47.9   53.1
  White                                                         64.1   60.8   64.1   59.9   64.3   59.5   64.5    5.6   67.8   61.1   62.5   60.7   64.8
  Latino                                                        33.7   25.3   33.2   35.5   37.7   32.3   35.0   22.7   36.7   35.8   37.1   39.1   38.2

NON-SOUTH
  Black                                                         60.6   61.7   67.2   63.1   65.9   58.4   63.0   58.3   62.0   58.5   61.7   57.0    NA
  White                                                         69.3   66.7   70.5   66.2   68.5   64.4   70.9   65.6   68.1   63.9   65.9   63.0    NA
  Latino                                                        35.5   33.9   39.0   33.2   32.4   30.4   32.9   29.1   33.8   31.9   32.7   30.6    NA
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: Various post-election reports by the U.S. Bureau of the Census



                                           Chart H2: Reported Turnout by Race in Florida and Outside the South
                                                                        1980-2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                1980   1982   1984   1986   1988   1990   1992   1994   1996   1998   2000   2002   2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FLORIDA
  Black                                                         50.3   30.4   43.2   42.4   40.8   37.4   46.3   30.0   40.5   33.4   42.3   33.0   44.9
  White                                                         56.5   43.1   55.5   47.5   57.1   44.9   57.9   46.2   52.7   40.6   53.8   44.8   58.6
  Latino                                                        29.3   18.6   29.1   28.0   34.1   22.8   30.5   20.1   29.0   22.9   31.4   27.4   34.0

NON-SOUTH
  Black                                                         52.8   48.5   58.9   44.2   55.6   38.4   53.8   40.2   51.4   40.4   53.1   39.3    NA
  White                                                         62.4   53.1   63.0   48.7   60.4   48.2   64.9   49.3   57.4   44.7   57.5   44.7    NA
  Latino                                                        29.8   25.8   32.8   23.8   26.8   20.5   27.4   20.8   26.3   21.4   26.8   18.2    NA
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: Various post-election reports by the U.S. Bureau of the Census


                                         Chart B1: Reported Registration by Race in Texas and Outside the South
                                                                        1980-2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                1980   1982   1984   1986   1988   1990   1992   1994   1996   1998   2000   2002   2004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TEXAS                                                           56.4   56.6   65.3   66.6   64.2   60.0   63.5   58.5   63.2   62.1   69.5   65.1   68.4
  Black
  White                                                         61.4   59.4   66.0   58.2   66.5   61.1   66.1   59.7   62.7   59.7   61.8   57.7   61.5
  Latino                                                        39.3   43.2   45.2   43.1   45.5   40.0   42.9   39.2   42.7   39.7   43.2   39.1   41.5

NON-SOUTH                                                       60.6   61.7   67.2   63.1   65.9   58.4   63.0   58.3   62.0   58.5   61.7   57.0    NA
  Black
  White                                                         69.3   66.7   70.5   66.2   68.5   64.4   70.9   65.6   68.1   63.9   65.9   63.0    NA
  Latino                                                        35.5   33.9   39.0   33.2   32.4   30.4   32.9   29.1   33.8   31.9   32.7   30.6    NA
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: Various post-election reports by the U.S. Bureau of the Census

Continued Disparity Between the Number of White and African-American 
        Elected Officials in Covered Jurisdictions
    In addition to the continued disparities between the 
percentages of whites and African Americans registered to vote 
and casting ballots, the Committee finds that few African 
Americans have been elected to positions in State legislatures 
relative to the total African American population in certain 
areas.
    The Supreme Court has found the extension of the VRA 
warranted when there were disproportionately small numbers of 
African American State legislators and disproportionately small 
numbers of African Americans elected statewide in covered 
jurisdictions, especially when the disparities exist in 
combination with continuing enforcement efforts and evidence of 
new methods of discrimination. In upholding the 1975 extension 
of the VRA, the Supreme Court noted that:

        The appellants contend in the alternative that, even if 
        the Act and its preclearance requirement were 
        appropriate means of enforcing the 15th amendment in 
        1965, they had outlived their usefulness by 1975, when 
        Congress extended the Act for another 7 years. We 
        decline this invitation to overrule Congress' judgment 
        that the 1975 extension was warranted. In considering 
        the 1975 extension, Congress acknowledged that largely 
        as a result of the Act, Negro voter registration had 
        improved dramatically since 1965. Congress determined, 
        however, that ``a bleaker side of the picture yet 
        exists''. . . . [T]hough the number of Negro elected 
        officials had increased since 1965, most held only 
        relatively minor positions, none held Statewide office, 
        and their number in the State legislatures fell far 
        short of being representative of the number of Negroes 
        residing in the covered jurisdictions . . . Congress 
        gave careful consideration to the propriety of 
        readopting Sec. 5's preclearance requirement. It first 
        noted that ``[i]n recent years the importance of this 
        provision has become widely recognized as a means of 
        promoting and preserving minority political gains in 
        covered jurisdictions.'' After examining information on 
        the number and types of submissions made by covered 
        jurisdictions and the number and nature of objections 
        interposed by the Attorney General, Congress not only 
        determined that Sec. 5 should be extended for another 7 
        years, it gave that provision this ringing endorsement: 
        ``The recent objections entered by the Attorney General 
        . . . to Section 5 submissions clearly bespeak the 
        continuing need for this preclearance mechanism. As 
        registration and voting of minority citizens increases 
        [sic], other measures may be resorted to which would 
        dilute increasing minority voting strength. . . . The 
        Committee is convinced that it is largely Section 5 
        which has contributed to the gains thus far achieved in 
        minority political participation, and it is likewise 
        Section [sic] 5 which serves to insure that progress 
        not be destroyed through new procedures and techniques. 
        Now is not the time to remove those preclearance 
        protections from such limited and fragile success.\58\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \58\ City of Rome v. United States, 446 U.S. 156, 180-81 (1980) 
(emphasis added) (citations omitted).

    As in 1982, the number of African Americans elected to 
State legislatures failed to reflect the number of African 
Americans in the general population. For example, in States 
such as Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South 
Carolina, and North Carolina, where African Americans make up 
35 percent of the population, African Americans made up only 
20.7 percent of the total number of State legislators.
    As of 2000, only 35 African Americans held a statewide 
elected office.\59\ In certain circumstances, these officials 
were not elected to their position but were appointed. The 
National Commission on the Voting Rights Act confirmed that 
``often it is only after blacks have been first appointed to a 
vacancy that they are able to win statewide office as 
incumbents. Moreover, in order for a black to win statewide 
election, a prior appointment to fill a vacancy is not always 
sufficient.'' \60\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \59\ See Protecting Minority Voters: The Voting Rights Act at Work 
1982-2005, The National Commission on the Voting Rights Act, February 
2006, at 38 (citing David Bostis, Black Elected Officials: A 
Statistical Summary 2000 (Washington, D.C.: Joint Center for Political 
and Economic Studies 2002),21).
    \60\ See Protecting Minority Voters: The Voting Rights Act at Work 
1982-2005, The National Commission on the Voting Rights Act, February 
2006, at 38.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In certain covered States, such as Mississippi, Louisiana, 
and South Carolina, African Americans have yet to be elected to 
any Statewide office.\61\ For example, in Louisiana, an African 
American has yet to be elected Governor and the likelihood that 
African American voters in the State would be able to elect 
African Americans to such Statewide positions in the near 
future was found to be minimal.\62\ The Committee received 
evidence, from South Carolina, indicating that the Governor 
conveyed his belief, as recently as 2005, that he ``did not 
expect to see such an election in the foreseeable future.'' 
\63\ Similar concerns were expressed about the inability of 
African Americans to be elected to positions within 
Mississippi. The Committee received testimony that ``for 
Statewide races, the higher up you go up the ballot, there's no 
integration.'' \64\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \61\ Mississippi elected its first African American United States 
Representative in 1986.
    \62\ See Debo Adegbile, Voting Rights in Louisiana: 1982-2006, 
February 2006, at 9.
    \63\ See John C. Ruoff and Herbert E. Buhl III, Section 5 and the 
Voting Rights Act in South Carolina Since 1982, February 2006, at 1.
    \64\ See Protecting Minority Voters: The Voting Rights Act at Work 
1982-2005, The National Commission on the Voting Rights Act, February 
2006, at 37.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Evidence shows that the experiences and concerns of African 
Americans in Mississippi, Louisiana, and South Carolina are not 
isolated. It was reported that in North Carolina, as of 1989, 
``no candidate who was the choice of the black community had 
ever won election to a statewide non-judicial office since 
1900.'' \65\ And, ``[e]very statewide election since 1988 where 
voters were presented with a biracial field of candidates has 
been marked by racially polarized voting.'' \66\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \65\ See Oversight Hearing, The Voting Rights Act: Section 5--
History, Scope, and Purpose, Subcommittee on the Constitution, 
Committee on the Judiciary, 109th Cong. 1 (October 25, 2005) 
(supplement to statement of Anita Earls, Director of Advocacy, UNC 
Center for Civil Rights, submitted on November 3, 2005).
    \66\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lack of Support for Latino, Asian American, Native American, and Alaska 
        Native Elected Officials
    The Committee also finds that the number of language 
minority officials elected to office has failed to keep pace 
with population growth among the minority communities. Latinos 
occupied a mere 0.9 percent of the total number of elected 
offices in the country, despite being the largest minority 
group in the country with approximately more than 15 million 
citizens of Hispanic origin residing in the United States. The 
number of Asian American elected officials also has not kept 
pace with the population growth experienced by the Asian 
American community. For example, the number of Asian American 
elected officials has increased from 120 in 1978 to 346 in 
2004. However, as of 2004, there were twelve million Asian 
Americans residing in the United States compared to the 1.2 
million Asian Americans who resided in 1970. The candidacies of 
Asian Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Native Alaskans 
have rarely garnered the support of white voters, resulting in 
a disparity between the number of white elected officials and 
the number of language minority officials elected to office, 
including statewide offices.\67\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \67\ See Protecting Minority Voters: The Voting Rights Act at Work 
1982-2005, The National Commission on the Voting Rights Act, February 
2006, at 43; see also Natalie Landreth and Moira Smith, Voting Rights 
Act Reauthorization 2007: Alaska Report, March 2006.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Racial and Language Minority Voters and Racially Polarized Voting
    The Committee finds it significant that the ability of 
racial and language minority citizens to elect their candidates 
of choice is affected by racially polarized voting. Racially 
polarized voting occurs when voting blocs within the minority 
and white communities cast ballots along racial lines and is 
the clearest and strongest evidence the Committee has before it 
of the continued resistence within covered jurisdictions to 
fully accept minority citizens and their preferred candidates 
into the electoral process. Testimony presented indicated that 
``the degree of racially polarized voting in the South is 
increasing, not decreasing . . . [and is] in certain ways re-
creating the segregated system of the Old South, albeit a de 
facto system with minimal violence rather than the de jure 
system of late.'' \68\ Reports presented by national and State 
organizations further document that racially polarized voting 
shapes electoral competition in the covered jurisdictions. For 
minority voters, there is effectively an election ceiling. In 
elections characterized by racially polarized voting, minority 
voters alone are powerless to elect their candidates. Moreover, 
it is rare that white voters will cross over to elect minority 
preferred candidates. For example, in 2000, only 8 percent of 
African Americans were elected from majority white 
districts.\69\ Language minority citizens fared much worse. As 
of 2000, neither Hispanics nor Native Americans candidates have 
been elected to office from a majority white district.\70\ The 
only chance minority candidates have to be successful are in 
districts in which minority voters control the elections. The 
breadth of racially polarized voting and its impact on minority 
voters represent a serious concern to the Committee. Federal 
courts have recognized the scope of this problem, as 
highlighted by the following examples.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \68\ See Protecting Minority Voters: The Voting Rights Act at Work 
1982-2005, The National Commission on the Voting Rights Act, February 
2006, at 95 (citing David Bositis, ``Impact of the `Core' Voting Rights 
Act on Voting and Officeholding,'' in Richard M. Valelly (ed.), The 
Voting Rights Act: Securing the Ballot [Washington DC: CQ Press, 2006], 
119.).
    \69\ See Protecting Minority Voters: The Voting Rights Act at Work 
1982-2005, The National Commission on the Voting Rights Act, February 
2006, at 38.
    \70\ Id. at 43-46.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Florida
    ``The parties agree that racially polarized voting exists 
throughout Florida to varying degrees. The results of Florida's 
legislative elections over the past 10 years established the 
presence of racially polarized voting.'' \71\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \71\ Id. at 96 (citing DeGrandy v. Wetherell, 794 F.Supp. 1076 
(N.D.Fla 1992), aff'd in part and rev'd in part on other grounds sub 
nom. Johnson v. DeGrandy, 512 U.S. 997, 1079 (1994)).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
South Carolina
    ``In this case the parties have presented substantial 
evidence that this disturbing fact has seen little change in 
the last decade. Voting in South Carolina continues to be 
racially polarized to a very high degree, in all regions of the 
State and in both primary elections and general elections. 
Statewide, black citizens generally are a highly politically 
cohesive group and whites engage in significant white-bloc 
voting. Indeed, this fact is not seriously in dispute.'' \72\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \72\ Id. at 96 (citing Colleton County Council, 201 F. Supp. 2d at 
641).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Louisiana
    ``A consistently high degree of electoral polarization in 
Orleans Parish is proven through both statistical and anecdotal 
evidence. Particularly as enhanced by Louisiana's majority vote 
requirement, . . . racial bloc voting substantially impairs the 
ability of black voters in this parish to become fully involved 
in the democratic process.'' \73\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \73\ Id. at 96 (citing Major v. Treen, 574 F. Supp. 325, 351-52 
(E.D. La. (1983)).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Texas
    ``This court recognizes that Plaintiffs have established 
racially polarized voting and a political, social, and economic 
legacy of past discrimination.'' \74\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \74\ Id. at 96 (citing Session v. Perry, 298 F. Supp. 2d 451, 
492(E.D.Tex. 2004), vacated and remanded on other grounds, Jackson v. 
Perry, 125 S. Ct. 351 (2004)).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
South Dakota
    ``The court concludes that substantial evidence, both 
statistical and lay, demonstrates that voting in South Dakota 
is racially polarized among whites and Indians in Districts 26 
and 27.'' \75\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \75\ Id. at 96 (citing Bone Shirt v. Hazletine, 336 F. Supp. 2d 
976, 1036 (D.S.D. 2004)).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Impact of Racially Polarized Voting
    These examples confirm that the presence of racially 
polarized voting occurs with frequency and has a direct bearing 
upon the outcome of elections. The potential for discrimination 
in environments characterized by racially polarized voting is 
great, as demonstrated by the increased use of Section 5, the 
increased need for Federal observers, and the increased need 
for Section 2 litigation. The continued need and increased use 
of the temporary provisions demonstrate that efforts to 
discriminate are as real today as they were in 1965 and 1982.
Evidence of Discriminatory Conduct--Section 5
    Congress designed Section 5 in such a way as to allow the 
Federal Government and courts to stay one step ahead of 
jurisdictions with a documented history of discrimination 
against its minority voters. Section 5 has accomplished this 
objective over the last 40 years by requiring covered 
jurisdictions to ``preclear'' all voting changes with the 
United States District Court for the District of Columbia or 
the Department of Justice. In submitting voting changes, 
covered jurisdictions have the burden of proving that the 
voting changes are not discriminatory in purpose or effect. 
Voting changes that do not meet the non-discriminatory criteria 
cannot be precleared nor can they be enforced by covered 
jurisdictions.
    Section 5's reach in preventing discrimination is broad. 
Its strength lies not only in the number of discriminatory 
voting changes it has thwarted, but can also be measured by the 
submissions that have been withdrawn from consideration, the 
submissions that have been altered by jurisdictions in order to 
comply with the VRA, or in the discriminatory voting changes 
that have never materialized. Indeed, the Supreme Court in the 
City of Rome v. United States found that ``the recent 
objections entered by the Attorney General . . . to Section 5 
submissions clearly bespeak the continuing need for this 
preclearance mechanism. As registration and voting of minority 
voting increases [sic], other measures may be resorted to which 
would dilute increasing minority voting strength . . . The 
Committee is convinced that it is largely Section 5 which has 
contributed to the gains thus far that achieved in minority 
political participation, and it is likewise Secton 5 [sic] 
which serves to insure that that progress not be destroyed 
through new procedures and techniques.'' \76\ The increased 
number of objections, revised submissions, and withdrawals over 
the last 25 years are strong indices of continued efforts to 
discriminate.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \76\ 446 U.S. 156, 180-181 (1980)(emphasis added) (citations 
omitted).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Section 5 Objections
    Since 1982, the Department of Justice received thousands of 
proposed voting changes annually from covered jurisdictions. Of 
the submissions, the Department found more than 700 to be 
discriminatory against minority voters. The Committee finds 
that voting changes devised by covered jurisdictions resemble 
those techniques and methods used in 1965, 1970, 1975, and 1982 
including: enacting discriminatory redistricting plans; 
switching offices from elected to appointed positions; 
relocating polling places; enacting discriminatory annexations 
and deannexations; setting numbered posts; and changing 
elections from single member districts to at-large voting and 
implementing majority vote requirements. The Committee received 
testimony indicating that these changes were intentionally 
developed to keep minority voters and candidates from 
succeeding in the political process.\77\ For example, in 
Kilmichael, Mississippi,
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \77\ See Complete Listing of Objections Pursuant to Sections 3(c) 
and 5 of the Voting Rights Act, Department of Justice, Civil Rights 
Division, July 11, 2005, available at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/
sec--5/obj--activ.htm.

        [D]uring the local elections of 2001, an unprecedented 
        number of African Americans [sic] candidates were 
        running for office. Three weeks before the election, 
        however, the town's mayor and the all white five-member 
        Board of Alderman canceled the election. In objecting 
        to this change under Section 5, the Justice Department 
        found that the cancellation occurred after Census data 
        revealed that African Americans had become a majority 
        in the town. The town did not reschedule the election, 
        and DOJ forced it to hold one in 2003 where upon 
        Kilmichael elected its first African American mayor, 
        along with three African American aldermen.\78\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \78\ See Caroline Fredrickson and Deborah J. Vagins, Promises to 
Keep: The Impact of the Voting Rights Act, March 2006, at 12 (citing 
Melany Eversley, For a Mississippi Town, Voting Rights Act Made A 
Change, USA Today (Aug. 5, 2005) and Stuart Comstock-Gay, Executive 
Director, National Voting Rights Institute, Ballot Box Equality (Aug. 
5, 2005), available at http:// www.tompaine.com/articles/2005/08/05/
ballot--box--equality.php.

    A breakdown of the objections to Statewide plans issued by 
the Department of Justice pursuant to Section 5 reveals that 
most objections, between 1982 and 2005, occurred specifically 
in ``the Black Belt of most southern states, including 
majority-minority counties.'' \79\ In its report, the National 
Commission on the Voting Rights Act noted that ``in nine of the 
sixteen Section 5-covered states, more objections were 
interposed after 1982 than before.'' \80\ The report emphasized 
that ``all but two of the sixteen states covered entirely or 
partially by Section 5 are states with a large non-white 
population--Latino, black and others. . . . The close link 
between large non-white populations and objections is also 
strikingly visible within individual States. . . .'' \81\ (See 
Appendices A-J).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \79\ See Protecting Minority Voters: The Voting Rights Act at Work 
1982-2005, The National Commission on the Voting Rights Act, February 
2006, at 54.
    \80\ Id. at 53.
    \81\ Id. at 54.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Testimony received by the Committee showed an increase in 
the number of objections issued by the Department of Justice 
since 1982, with most objections continuing to occur in areas 
heavily populated by minority voters. The Committee received 
testimony highlighting the necessity of Section 5 objections to 
protect minority voters from actions undertaken by local 
governments. For example, the Department of Justice has 
interposed 112 objections in Mississippi since 1982, with most 
occurring in county and local governments. Sixty-eight of the 
91 objections interposed in Georgia since 1982 were to changes 
made at the county or municipal levels. Section 5's protections 
have been vital to ensuring that covered jurisdictions, 
including the localities, were not successful in their efforts 
to disenfranchise minority voters or dilute the weight of their 
vote.
    Testimony from other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) 
revealed the impact that discriminatory tactics, such as the 
discriminatory redistricting plan administered in the City of 
Albany, Georgia, have had on minority voters and the necessity 
of Section 5 to prevent enforcement:

        Following the 2000 census, the City of Albany, Georgia, 
        adopted a new redistricting plan for its mayor and 
        commission to replace an existing malapportioned plan, 
        but it was rejected by the Department of Justice under 
        Section 5. The department noted that while the Black 
        population had steadily increased in Ward 4 over the 
        past two decades, subsequent redistricting had 
        decreased the Black population ``in order to forestall 
        the creation of a majority black district.'' The letter 
        of objection concluded it was ``implicit'' that ``the 
        proposed plan was designed with the purpose to limit 
        and retrogress the increased black voting strength in 
        Ward 4, as well as in the city as a whole.'' A 
        subsequent court ordered plan remedied the vote 
        dilution in Ward 4. But, in the absence of Section 5, 
        elections would have gone forward under a plan in which 
        purposeful discrimination was ``implicit,'' and which 
        could only have been challenged in time consuming vote 
        dilution litigation under Section 2, in which minority 
        plaintiffs would have borne the burden of proof and 
        expense.\82\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \82\ See Laughlin McDonald, The Case For Extending and Amending the 
Voting Rights Act: Voting Rights Litigation, 1982-2006: A Report of the 
Voting Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, March 
2006, at 5 (citing letter from J. Michael Wiggins, Acting Assistant 
Attorney General, to Al Greishaber, Jr., (September 23, 2002); Wright 
v. City of Albany, Alabama, 306 F.Supp.2d 1228 (M.D.GA. 2003)).

Other examples of attempts to employ voting systems in a 
discriminatory manner were reported to the Committee, 
including:
Louisiana
    ``After the Washington Parish School Board finally added a 
second majority-African American district in 1993 (bringing the 
total to 2 out of 8, representing an African American 
population of 32 percent), it immediately created a new at-
large seat to ensure that no white incumbent would lose his 
seat and to reduce the impact of the two African American 
members (to 2 out of 9). The DOJ objected.'' \83\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \83\ See Debo Adegbile, Voting Rights in Louisiana: 1982-2006, 
February 2006, at 21 (citing Letter from James P. Turner, Assistant 
Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, U.S. DoJ, to Sherri Marcus 
Morris, Assistant Attorney General, State of Louisiana, and Jerald N. 
Jones, City of Shreveport (September 11, 1995)).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
South Carolina
    ``In 1989, following a settlement of Section 2 claims in 
NAACP v. City of Lancaster (D.S.C. 1989), the city adopted a 
redistricting plan which changed a system of seven members, 
including the mayor, elected at large by plurality votes to a 
nine member council, six elected from single member districts 
and three, including the mayor, elected at large by plurality 
vote in staggered terms. In objecting to the two additional 
members, the Department noted that the additional districts 
appeared to have been added after it became clear that black 
citizens would have an opportunity to elect candidates of their 
choice in three of the six districts, creating a city council 
that mirrored the 41 percent African American population. 
Further, the Department observed that preserving seats for two 
white incumbents was a major consideration in the addition. In 
2006, three African Americans serve on the seven member 
council.'' \84\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \84\ See John C. Ruoff and Herbert E. Buhl III, Section 5 and the 
Voting Rights Act in South Carolina Since 1982, February 2006, at 21.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Virginia
    ``Pittsylvania County proposed a redistricting plan for its 
board of supervisors and school board members which would have 
reduced the African American population in the only majority-
minority district in the county (Bannister district). The DOJ 
objected, finding the proposed reduction was retrogressive. In 
fact, according to the DOJ, even a minute reduction would have 
greatly impaired African American voters' ability to elect 
candidates of choice. Furthermore, the existence of alternative 
plans that actually ameliorated minority voters' ability to 
elect their choice candidates underscored the DOJ's 
objection.'' \85\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \85\ See Anita Earls, Kara Millonzi, Oni Seliski, and Torrey Dixon, 
Voting Rights in Virginia, March 2006, at 11 (citing Letter from Ralph 
F. Boyd, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, U.S. 
DoJ, to William Sleeper, County Administrator, and Fred M. Ingram, 
Chairperson, Board of Supervisors of Chatham, VA (Apr. 29, 2002)).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Examples of repeated attempts by covered States, such as 
Mississippi, Virginia, and South Carolina, to preclear voting 
changes that have already been struck down as discriminatory or 
would have affected gains made by minority voters were also 
reported to the Committee. The deliberate repeated attempts 
demonstrate the continued importance of the VRA. For example:
Mississippi
    In testimony presented to the Committee, the National 
Voting Rights Institute described its involvement, in 1995, in 
stopping Mississippi from resurrecting and enforcing its dual 
voter registration system, which was initially enacted in 1892 
to disenfranchise Black voters. After being the last State in 
the country to maintain such a system, it was struck down in 
1987 and the State ultimately administered a unitary 
registration system. However, under the guise of complying with 
the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), the State 
of Mississippi revived its dual registration system. Under one 
system, the State enabled citizens to register for Federal 
elections in compliance with the NVRA. At the same time, the 
State continued to maintain, under a separate system, its pre-
existing registration process, enabling voters to register for 
all local, State, and Federal elections. Knowing that 
maintenance of two registration systems had previously been 
struck down as discriminatory, the State refused to submit the 
change for preclearance under Section 5. It was only in 
response to an enforcement action filed under Section 5 that 
Mississippi submitted the change in registration system to the 
Department of Justice for preclearance. Even more striking was 
the fact that even after the Department denied preclearance, 
Mississippi failed to enact legislation to integrate the NVRA 
as part of the State's unitary registration system.\86\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \86\ See Robert McDuff, The Voting Rights in Mississippi: 1982-
2006, April 2006; see also Oversight Hearing on the Voting Rights Act: 
Section 5--Preclearance Standards, Subcommittee on the Constitution, 
Committee on the Judiciary, 109th Cong. 1 (November 1, 2005)(statement 
of Brenda Wright, National Voting Rights Institute).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
South Carolina
    ``In 2003, South Carolina, enacted legislation adopting the 
identical method of elections for the board of trustees of the 
Charleston County School District that had earlier, in a case 
involving the county council, been found to dilute minority 
voting strength in violation of Section 2.\87\ Under the 
preexisting system, school board elections were non-partisan, 
multi-seat contests decided by plurality vote, which allowed 
minority voters the opportunity to bullet vote, or concentrate 
their votes on one or two candidates and elect them to office. 
That possibility would have been effectively eliminated under 
the proposed new partisan plan system. In denying preclearance 
to the county's submission, DOJ concluded:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \87\ See Laughlin McDonald, The Case For Extending and Amending the 
Voting Rights Act: Voting Rights Litigation, 1982-2006: A Report of the 
Voting Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, p. 6 
(March 2006)(citing United States v. Charleston County and Moultrie v. 
Charleston County Council, 316 F.Supp.2d 268 (D.S.C. 2003), aff'd 365 
(4th Cir. 2004), cert. den'd, 125 S.Ct.606(2004)).

        `[t]he proposed change would significantly impair the 
        present ability of minority voters to elect candidates 
        of choice to the school board and to participate fully 
        in the political process.' The department further noted 
        that: every black member of the Charleston County 
        delegation voted against the proposed change, some 
        specifically citing the retrogressive nature of the 
        change. Our investigation also reveals that the 
        retrogressive nature of this change is not only 
        recognized by black members of the delegation, but is 
        recognized by other citizens in Charleston County, both 
        elected and unelected. Section 5 thus prevented the 
        State from implementing a new and retrogressive voting 
        practice, one which everyone understood was adopted to 
        dilute black voting strength and insure white control 
        of the school board.'' \88\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \88\ Id.(citing R. Alexander Acosta, Assistant Attorney General, to 
C. Havird Jones, Jr., February 26, 2004).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Virginia
    ``Northampton County proposed a change in the method of 
electing the board of supervisors by collapsing six districts 
into three larger districts in September 2001. The DOJ 
objected, finding that three of the six districts were 
majority-minority districts in which African American voters 
regularly elected their candidates of choice. The new plan 
would have diluted the minority-majorities and caused them to 
completely disappear in two of the three districts--clearly 
having retrogressive effects. Two years later, in 2003, the 
county provided a new six-district plan, which had the same 
retrogressive effects of the three-district plan. The DOJ 
objected and provided a model non-retrogressive, six-district 
plan, which has yet to be followed by the county.'' \89\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \89\ See Anita Earls, Kara Millonzi, Oni Seliski, and Torrey Dixon, 
Voting Rights in Virginia (March 2006) at 11 (citing letter from Ralph 
F. Boyd, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, U.S. 
DoJ, to Bruce Jones, County Attorney for Northampton County, VA (Sept. 
28, 2001); letter from Ralph F. Boyd, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, 
Civil Rights Division, U.S. DoJ, to Bruce Jones, County Attorney for 
Northampton County, VA (May 19, 2003); and letter from J. Michael 
Wiggins, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, U.S. 
DoJ, to Bruce Jones, County Attorney for Northampton County, VA (Oct. 
21, 2003)).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Section 5--More Information Request Letters
    Efforts to discriminate over the past 25 years were not 
just demonstrated by objection letters issued under Section 5 
but were also reflected by an administrative mechanism, known 
as a ``more information request (MIR).'' MIRs are used by the 
Department of Justice when insufficient information is 
submitted with a proposed voting change to enable the 
Department of Justice to make a determination whether a voting 
change has the ``purpose or effect of denying or abridging the 
right to vote.'' \90\ The use of MIRs force covered 
jurisdictions to take action when seeking to preclear voting 
changes that may be discriminatory, including deciding whether 
to: (1) submit additional information to prove a change is non-
discriminatory; (2) withdraw a proposed change from 
consideration because it is discriminatory; (3) submit a new or 
amended non-discriminatory voting plan; or (4) make no 
change.\91\ The actions taken by a jurisdiction are often 
illustrative of a jurisdiction's motives. For example, 
testimony presented to the Committee revealed that MIRs 
affected more than 800 additional voting changes that were 
submitted for preclearance, compelling covered jurisdictions to 
either alter the proposal or withdraw it from consideration 
altogether.\92\ The National Voting Rights Committee confirmed 
that since 1982, over 205 voting changes have been withdrawn as 
a result of Section 5's MIR tool.\93\ The location of the 
withdrawn voting changes parallels the pattern of objections 
interposed by the Department of Justice, occurring primarily 
within the ``Black Belt'' of the Southern States.\94\ For 
example, in North Carolina alone, it was reported that the 
State has withdrawn more than 10 submissions as a result of the 
MIRs since 1982, including five since 2000.\95\ (See Appendix 
K).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \90\ See Section 5.
    \91\ See 28 C.F.R.51.37 and 51.40.
    \92\ See Juan Cartagena, Final Report on the State of Voting Rights 
in New York City, Including the Impact of Section 5 and Section 203 of 
the Voting Rights Act on Minority Empowerment, February 27, 2006, at 
20-22.
    \93\ See Protecting Minority Voters: The Voting Rights Act at Work 
1982-2005, The National Commission on the Voting Rights Act, February 
2006, at 58.
    \94\ Id.
    \95\ See LeeAnne Quatrucci, Voting Rights Act in North Carolina 
1982-2006, March 2006, at 2.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The notable impact that Section 5 MIRs have had on 
protecting minority voters was presented to the Committee:

        In Monterey County, election officials decided to 
        reduce the number of polling places for the special 
        gubernatorial recall election held on October 7, 2003. 
        According to county officials, the number of polling 
        places utilized in the November 2002 general election 
        was reduced from 190 to 86 for the special recall 
        election. The Department of Justice ultimately approved 
        the voting precinct only after Monterey County withdrew 
        from Section 5 consideration five precinct and polling 
        place consolidations. Absent Section 5 coverage there 
        would not have been a withdrawal of these particular 
        polling place consolidations. The only alternative 
        would have been to file a Section 2 case and seek a 
        preliminary injunction enjoining the consolidation of 
        these polling places.\96\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \96\ See Statement of Joaquin G. Avila, The Continued for Federal 
Oversight of California's Electoral Process, to the Honorable Steve 
Chabot, Chairman, Subcommittee on the Constitution (November 2005).

    The example highlights the fact that despite efforts to 
enact discriminatory changes. Section 5 has been instrumental 
in ensuring that only voting changes that are non-
discriminatory in purpose and effect are enforceable by a 
covered jurisdiction.
Section 5--Enforcement and Non-Compliance
    In addition to the increased number of objections 
interposed under Section 5, the continued need for additional 
information related to Section 5 submissions, and the increased 
number of submissions withdrawn from consideration under 
Section 5, the Committee finds that covered jurisdictions 
continue to resist submitting voting changes for preclearance, 
as required by Section 5. In fact, the Committee received 
testimony from the National Commission on the Voting Rights Act 
that the Department of Justice has no ``systematic way to 
monitor all such jurisdictions to ensure that all changes are 
submitted for preclearance.'' \97\ As a result, many defiant 
covered jurisdictions and State and local officials continue to 
enact and enforce changes to voting procedures without the 
Federal Government's knowledge. The Committee finds that 
Section 5's enforcement authority played a critical role, 
enabling the Department of Justice and private citizens to 
monitor covered jurisdictions to the fullest extent possible to 
ensure full compliance was achieved. The Committee further 
finds that much of the burden of enforcing Section 5 over the 
years has fallen to private citizens whose assistance has been 
critical to ensuring that discriminatory changes are stopped 
before they negatively affect minority voters.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \97\ See Protecting Minority Voters: The Voting Rights Act at Work 
1982-2005, The National Commission on the Voting Rights Act, February 
2006, at 66.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
South Dakota
    Perhaps the most egregious example of non-compliance 
received by the Committee occurred in South Dakota. Beginning 
in 1975, former South Dakota Attorney General William Janklow 
described the preclearance requirement as a ``facial 
absurdity'' and advised against compliance, stating ``I see no 
need to proceed with undue speed to subject our State laws to a 
`one-man veto' by the United States Attorney General.'' \98\ 
And, while the Department of Justice sued South Dakota in 1978 
and 1979 to enforce Section 5's requirements, compliance 
efforts in subsequent years fell short.\99\ As a result, 
between 1976 and 2002, South Dakota enacted more than 600 
statutes and voting changes, seeking preclearance in less than 
five cases.\100\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \98\ 1977 S.D. Op. Atty. Gen.175: 1977 WL 36011 (S.D.AG.)
    \99\ See http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/sec--5/sd--obj2.htm.
    \100\ See http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/sec--5/sd--obj2.htm.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The lack of enforcement enabled South Dakota to defy 
Federal oversight requirements and to continue enforcing 
changes which negatively impacted Native American citizens and 
their ability to vote. Over the last several decades, the State 
enacted voting changes that ``authoriz[ed] municipalities to 
adopt numbered seat requirements . . . requir[ed] a majority 
vote for nomination in primary elections for United States 
Senate, congressman, and governor . . . and [enforced] 
redistricting plans . . . [that] packed Indians into certain 
districts.'' \101\ In 2002, members of the ``Oglala and Rosebud 
Sioux Tribes in Shannon and Todd counties sued the State of 
South Dakota, with the assistance of the ACLU, to enforce 
Section 5's requirements. These efforts resulted in a consent 
decree under which the State agreed to fulfill its preclearance 
obligations over a 3-year period.'' \102\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \101\ See Laughlin McDonald, ``The Need to Expand the Coverage of 
Section Five of the Voting Rights Act to Indian Country,'' The Future 
of the Voting Rights Act (Russell Sage Foundation, 2006) edited by 
Richard H. Pildes, Rodolfo de la Garza, David Epstein, and Sharyn 
O'Halloran at 27.
    \102\ Id. at 31.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Other examples of non-compliance were presented to the 
Committee. In California, it was reported that ``there is a 
significant problem relating to the enforcement of the Section 
5 preclearance provisions,'' \103\ the significance of which 
was noted by the Supreme Court in Lopez v. Monterey 
County.\104\ The Lopez Court highlighted the particular failure 
by Monterey County to comply with Section 5, finding that `The 
County, although covered by Section 5 of the Act, failed to 
seek Federal preclearance for any of its six consolidation 
ordinances. Nor did the State preclear its 1979 law. . . .'' 
\105\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \103\ See Statement of Joaquin G. Avila, The Continued for Federal 
Oversight of California's Electoral Process, to the Honorable Steve 
Chabot, Chairman, Subcommittee on the Constitution (November 2005).
    \104\ See Lopez v. Monterey County, 525 U.S. 266 (1999).
    \105\ Id. at 273.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Testimony from many outside groups confirms the importance 
of Section 5's enforcement mechanisms, especially in protecting 
smaller, more rural communities within covered States, where 
Federal oversight has been limited and non-compliance 
extensive. For example, testimony from South Carolina revealed 
that in Lee County, the ``County revised its redistricting plan 
and the revised plan was precleared in 1993. The County set an 
expedited special election schedule even though the new plan 
included substantial changes from the previous plan. The county 
held a primary in 1994 even though the [new] plan had not been 
precleared. . . . Both the Department of Justice and the NAACP 
filed in the District Court to enjoin the special general 
elections and to vacate the special primary. The court issued a 
temporary restraining order.'' \106\ Later, a ``three judge 
panel granted summary judgment motions by the plaintiffs 
vacating the April 19, 1994 special primary and enjoining 
further implementation of the special election procedure.'' 
\107\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \106\ See John C. Ruoff and Herbert E. Buhl III, Section 5 and the 
Voting Rights Act in South Carolina Since 1982, February 2006, at 27 
(citing N.A.A.C.P. v. Lee County Council, C.A. No. 3:94-01575-17 
(D.S.C., 1994; United States v. Lee County, C.A. No. 3:94-01582-17 
(D.S.C., 1994)).
    \107\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Additional testimony indicates that ``Louisiana's record of 
complying with Section 5 for local elections is even worse than 
its record for State elections, which is why Section 5 plays an 
important role in Louisiana in preventing voting discrimination 
for local offices.'' \108\ For example, ``[T]he Western 
District Court for Louisiana has enjoined multiple elections in 
jurisdictions that failed to preclear voting changes. In 1991, 
it enjoined the City of Monroe from holding elections in Ward 
1, 2, and 4 until obtaining preclearance for elections to the 
City Court. In 1994, the same District Court enjoined elections 
under the Vernon Parish School Board's post 1990 
reapportionment, since the School Board failed to submit its 
1994 modified reapportionment resolution. The School Board's 
reapportionment also violated the one-person one-vote 
standard.'' \109\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \108\ See Debo Adegbile, Voting Rights in Louisiana: 1982-2006, 
February 2006, at 31.
    \109\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee was also made aware that unofficial changes 
to voting practices are routinely made by local elections 
officials. Local election officials and poll workers often make 
arbitrary decisions in polling locations that effectively 
change voting procedures. In some cases, these changes have 
been in effect for years without preclearance and are now 
considered standard practice. For example, in Mississippi, the 
outcome for a race for Superintendent in Hinds County was 
affected by a decision whether to count affidavit ballots that 
did not contain signatures on the ballot. The decision to 
accept ballots only with signatures was made by a local 
election official and the issue, on which the outcome of the 
race for Superintendent depended, was litigated to the Supreme 
Court. Despite a ruling from the Court that affidavit ballots 
do not need signatures, the county continued to count only 
those ballots with signatures.\110\ Arbitrary decisions made in 
polling places out of the sight of Federal officials, and the 
impact that such changes have on minority voters with no 
protection other than the temporary provisions of the VRA is of 
significant concern to the Committee.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \110\ See Protecting Minority Voters: The Voting Rights Act at Work 
1982-2005, The National Commission on the Voting Rights Act, February 
2006,(Highlights of Hearings of the National Commission on the Voting 
Rights Act (2006)).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Federal Examiners and Observers
    The Committee finds that indicia of discrimination are 
reflected in the continued need for Federal observers to 
monitor polling places located in covered jurisdictions. The 
assignment of Federal officials to these jurisdictions 
demonstrates that the discriminatory conduct experienced by 
minority voters is not solely limited to tactics to dilute the 
voting strength of minorities but continues to include tactics 
to disenfranchise, such as harassment and intimidation inside 
polling locations. Under Section 8, observers are assigned to a 
polling location only when there is a reasonable belief that 
minority citizens are at risk of being disenfranchised. While 
observers are not authorized to take action against the 
perpetrators of discriminatory conduct, the Committee finds 
that they have served a critical oversight function, monitoring 
and reporting on the actions of voters and poll workers inside 
the polling locations.
    Since 1965, more than 22,000 Federal observers have been 
assigned to protect minority voters in polling places. In the 
last 25 years, between 300 and 600 observers have been assigned 
annually to covered jurisdictions to protect minority voters. 
In 2004 alone, more than 1,400 observers were sent to 105 
jurisdictions in 29 States to protect the rights of minority 
citizens.
    According to the National Commission on the Voting Rights 
Act, ``Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South 
Carolina--five of the six States originally covered by Section 
5--accounted for 66 percent of all the coverages since 1982. 
Mississippi alone, long considered the most resistant of all 
States to black voting rights, accounted for 40 percent [of the 
observers assigned since 1982].'' \111\ (See Appendix L.) In 
South Carolina, the Committee received testimony revealing that 
observers have been assigned 23 times since 1982 to observe 37 
separate elections to ensure the rights of African Americans 
were protected. In Georgia, observers were present in 28 
counties monitoring 57 elections within the State since 1982.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \111\ See Protecting Minority Voters: The Voting Rights Act at Work 
1982-2005, The National Commission on the Voting Rights Act, February 
2006, at 61.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee further finds that observers have played a 
critical role in law enforcement efforts to protect minority 
citizens. These observations often become the foundation of 
Department of Justice enforcement efforts. For example, the 
Committee received testimony demonstrating the importance of 
the observer report in United States v. Conecuh County, Alabama 
(Civil Action No. 83-1201 (S.D. Ala. June 12, 1984)). The 
personal accounts of observers were instrumental in enabling 
Federal prosecutors to proceed against County officials for 
discriminatory conduct against African Americans in polling 
locations.\112\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \112\ See Oversight Hearing, The Voting Rights Act: Sections 6 and 
8--The Federal Examiner and Observer Program, Subcommittee on the 
Constitution, Committee on the Judiciary, 109th Cong. 1 (November 15, 
2005) (statement of Barry J. Weinberg, former Deputy Chief and Acting 
Chief, Voting Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of 
Justice).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee also finds it significant that Federal 
observers have become increasingly necessary to ensure that 
language assistance within jurisdictions covered by Section 203 
are fulfilled. The Committee received testimony revealing that 
more than 800 Federal observers were assigned to covered 
counties in New York City from 1985 through 2004 to protect 
Asian American and Latino voters' full participation in the 
electoral process.\113\ These observers were necessary to 
ensure that polling place workers translated documents and 
procedures for language minority citizens as required by 
Section 203. In other locations, observers were able to 
identify and report back to the Department of Justice instances 
in which language minority voters fell victim to the harassment 
and intimidation of polling officials. For example, observers 
were recently assigned to covered jurisdictions, such as in 
Georgia, Alabama, and Texas, to protect Latino and Asian 
American voters.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \113\ See Juan Cartagena, Final Report on the State of Voting 
Rights in New York City, Including the Impact of Section 5 and Section 
203 of the Voting Rights Act on Minority Empowerment, February 27, 
2006, at 22-23.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Language Minority Citizens and Sections 4(f) and 203
    The Committee finds that Latinos, Asian Americans, Alaskan 
Natives, and Native Americans continue to suffer from 
discrimination in voting. According to some in California, 
Latinos continue to be victims of discriminatory tactics 
employed at the local level, such as on school boards and 
county governments, where fragmenting and packing tactics 
continue to prevent Hispanics from electing candidates of their 
choice.\114\ The Committee received testimony disclosing 
efforts on the part of officials in the City of Seguin, Texas, 
to prevent Latinos from gaining a majority of seats on the city 
council by attempting to dismantle a fifth Latino district in 
its new redistricting plan. Similar testimony was received from 
language minority citizens in New York, Alaska, Arizona, 
California, Florida, and South Dakota, all of whom identified 
similar tactics used to keep Native Alaskans, Native Americans, 
Asian Americans and Latinos from registering and casting 
effective ballots. These tactics include providing ineffective 
language assistance and fragmenting and packing Hispanic and 
Asian Americans.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \114\ See Statement of Joaquin G. Avila, The Continued for Federal 
Oversight of California's Electoral Process, to the Honorable Steve 
Chabot, Chairman, Subcommittee on the Constitution (November 2005).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee also received testimony revealing efforts by 
officials in the covered States of Alabama and Georgia to 
discriminate against language minority citizens. For example, 
local Officials in Long County, Georgia attempted to 
disenfranchise Hispanic voters by challenging their citizenship 
status solely on the basis of surname.\115\ In Alabama, Asian 
American voters attempting to vote in an election with an Asian 
American candidate were harassed and threatened by supporters 
of an opposing candidate in polling locations in Bayou La 
Batre.\116\ It was only with the assistance of the Department 
of Justice that Asian American and Hispanic voters in these 
jurisdictions were able to cast ballots without barriers.\117\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \115\ See Robert Kengle, Voting Rights in Georgia: 1982-2006 (March 
2006) at 33.
    \116\ See Letter from Karen K. Narasaki, President and Executive 
Director, Asian American Justice Center to the Honorable Steve Chabot, 
Chairman, Subcommittee on the Constitution (November 22, 2005).
    \117\ See Oversight Hearing, The Voting Rights Act: Section 203--
Bilingual Assistance (Part I), Subcommittee on the Constitution, House 
Committee on the Judiciary, 109th Cong. 1 (November 8, 2005) (statement 
of the Honorable Bradley J.Schlozman, Acting Assistant Attorney 
General, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Moreover, in jurisdictions covered by Section 203, the 
Committee received information that Asian Americans, Native 
Americans, Hispanics, and Native Alaskans continue to 
experience hardships and barriers to voting and casting ballots 
because of their limited abilities to speak English and high 
illiteracy rates. In testimony presented to the Committee, it 
was reported that ``40 percent of Asian Americans and Hispanics 
in California are limited English proficient, with more than a 
quarter living in linguistically isolated households.'' \118\ 
The Committee received testimony revealing that 63 percent of 
Asian Americans in New York reside in limited English 
proficient homes. Hispanics are similarly situated, with more 
than 75 percent of Latinos nationwide reportedly speaking a 
language other than English in the home, and 23 percent of 
registered Latinos identifying Spanish as their primary 
language.\119\ In testimony presented by the National Congress 
of American Indians, it was reported that many Native people 
speak English only as a second language, with many Native 
Alaskans and Native Americans continuing to speak in their 
native tongue, particularly among the elders--``many who speak 
English poorly''--and many tribal businesses that continue to 
conduct business exclusively or primarily in Native 
languages.\120\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \118\ See Letter from Stewart Kohl, President and Executive 
Director, The Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern 
California, to The Honorable Steve Chabot, Chairman, Subcommittee on 
the Constitution (November 16, 2005).
    \119\ Id.; see also Juan Cartagena, Final Report on the State of 
Voting Rights in New York City, Including the Impact of Section 5 and 
Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act on Minority Empowerment, February 
27, 2006.
    \120\ See Oversight Hearing, The Voting Rights Act: Section 203--
Bilingual Assistance (Part II), Subcommittee on the Constitution, House 
Committee on the Judiciary, 109th Cong. 1(November 9, 2005) (joint 
statement of the National Congress of American Indians and the Native 
American Rights Fund). See also, The Native Languages Protection Act of 
1990.

                  Chart I: California LEP and LIH Rates
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  Percentage of         Percentage of
                               Population that is    Households That Are
            Group                Limited English       Linguistically
                                Proficient (LEP)       Isolated (LIH)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vietnamese                    62%.................  44%
Cambodian                     56%.................  32%
Korean                        52%.................  41%
Chinese                       48%.................  34%
Latino                        43%.................  26%
Asian overall                 39%.................  26%
Filipino                      23%.................  11%
Japanese                      22%.................  18%
California                    20%.................  10%
White                          3%.................   2%
------------------------------------------------------------------------


            Chart J1: San Francisco County LEP and LIH Rates
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  Percentage of         Percentage of
                               Population that is    Households That Are
            Group                Limited English       Linguistically
                                Proficient (LEP)       Isolated (LIH)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vietnamese                    63%.................  43%
Chinese                       58%.................  42%
Asian overall                 50%.................  35%
Latino                        42%.................  23%
Korean                        41%.................  33%
Filipino                      29%.................  14%
County                        25%.................  13%
White                          6%.................   4%
------------------------------------------------------------------------


              Chart J2: San Mateo County LEP and LIH Rates
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  Percentage of         Percentage of
                               Population that is    Households That Are
            Group                Limited English       Linguistically
                                Proficient (LEP)       Isolated (LIH)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vietnamese                    46%.................  29%
Latino                        45%.................  24%
Korean                        39%.................  26%
Chinese                       37%.................  23%
Asian overall                 29%.................  16%
Filipino                      23%.................   9%
County                        18%.................   8%
White                          4%.................   2%
------------------------------------------------------------------------


               Chart J3: Alameda County LEP and LIH Rates
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  Percentage of         Percentage of
                               Population that is    Households That Are
            Group                Limited English       Linguistically
                                Proficient (LEP)       Isolated (LIH)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vietnamese                    59%.................  44%
Chinese                       50%.................  36%
Korean                        44%.................  32%
Latino                        40%.................  22%
Asian overall                 38%.................  25%
Filipino                      23%.................  10%
County                        18%.................   9%
White                          3%.................   2%
------------------------------------------------------------------------


             Chart J4: Santa Clara County LEP and LIH Rates
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  Percentage of         Percentage of
                               Population that is    Households That Are
            Group                Limited English       Linguistically
                                Proficient (LEP)       Isolated (LIH)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vietnamese                    65%.................  45%
Korean                        49%.................  36%
Chinese                       44%.................  31%
Asian overall                 40%.................  25%
Latino                        38%.................  19%
Filipino                      26%.................  10%
County                        22%.................  10%
White                          4%.................   2%
------------------------------------------------------------------------


             Chart J5: Los Angeles County LEP and LIH Rates
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  Percentage of         Percentage of
                               Population that is    Households That Are
            Group                Limited English       Linguistically
                                Proficient (LEP)       Isolated (LIH)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vietnamese                    63%.................  45%
Korean                        59%.................  47%
Cambodian                     57%.................  33%
Chinese                       54%.................  39%
Latino                        48%.................  30%
Asian overall                 43%.................  30%
County                        29%.................  15%
Japanese                      25%.................  22%
Filipino                      23%.................  11%
White                          7%.................   4%
------------------------------------------------------------------------


                Chart J6: Orange County LEP and LIH Rates
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  Percentage of         Percentage of
                               Population that is    Households That Are
            Group                Limited English       Linguistically
                                Proficient (LEP)       Isolated (LIH)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vietnamese                    64%.................  46%
Korean                        54%.................  39%
Latino                        48%.................  27%
Asian overall                 45%.................  29%
Chinese                       40%.................  26%
County                        22%.................  10%
Filipino                      17%.................   7%
White                          2%.................   1%
------------------------------------------------------------------------


              Chart J7: San Diego County LEP and LIH Rates
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  Percentage of         Percentage of
                               Population that is    Households That Are
            Group                Limited English       Linguistically
                                Proficient (LEP)       Isolated (LIH)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vietnamese                    60%.................  45%
Korean                        39%.................  31%
Latino                        39%.................  23%
Chinese                       35%.................  25%
Asian overall                 32%.................  21%
Filipino                      23%.................  11%
County                        15%.................   7%
White                          2%.................   1%
------------------------------------------------------------------------


             Chart J8: Sacramento County--LEP and LIH Rates
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  Percentage of         Percentage of
                               Population that is    Households That Are
            Group                Limited English       Linguistically
                                Proficient (LEP)       Isolated (LIH)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vietnamese                    60%.................  47%
Chinese                       43%.................  32%
Korean                        38%.................  27%
Asian overall                 38%.................  24%
Latino                        27%.................  16%
Filipino                      18%.................   9%
County                        12%.................   6%
White                          4%.................   2%
------------------------------------------------------------------------


         Chart K: Southern California Exit Poll Data--LEP Rates
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                          Percentage of APIA Voters Who
               Election                  Are Limited English Proficient
------------------------------------------------------------------------
November 2004*                          40%
November 2002                           32%
November 2000                           46%
March 2000                              47%
November 1998                           35%
------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Represents preliminary findings. Subject to adjustment based on
  statistical weighting


             Chart L: Southern California Exit Poll Data--More Likely to Vote if Assistance Received
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            Percentage of APIA Voters More     Percentage of Latino Voters More
                Election                     Likely to Vote if Assistance        Likely to Vote if Assistance
                                                       Received                            Received
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
November 2000                             54%...............................  46%
March 2000                                53%...............................  42%
November 1998                             43%...............................  38%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


           Chart M1: San Francisco County--H.S. and Child LEP
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Less Than High
             Group                   School Degree       Child LEP Rate
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vietnamese                       47%.................  37%
Chinese                          39%.................  34%
Asian overall                    32%.................  30%
County                           19%.................  20%
Filipino                         17%.................  13%
Korean                           14%.................  21%
White                             5%.................   5%
------------------------------------------------------------------------


             Chart M2: San Mateo County--H.S. and Child LEP
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Less Than High
             Group                   School Degree       Child LEP Rate
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vietnamese                       22%.................  11%
County                           15%.................  14%
Chinese                          13%.................  15%
Asian overall                    11%.................  13%
Filipino                         10%.................   9%
White                             7%.................   2%
Korean                            5%.................  21%
------------------------------------------------------------------------


              Chart M3: Alameda County--H.S. and Child LEP
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Less Than High
             Group                   School Degree       Child LEP Rate
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vietnamese                       35%.................  39%
Chinese                          24%.................  29%
Asian overall                    18%.................  22%
County                           18%.................  14%
Korean                           11%.................  22%
Filipino                         11%.................  11%
White                             8%.................   2%
------------------------------------------------------------------------


            Chart M4: Santa Clara County--H.S. and Child LEP
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Less Than High
             Group                   School Degree       Child LEP Rate
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vietnamese                       32%.................  42%
County                           17%.................  16%
Asian overall                    15%.................  23%
Filipino                         12%.................  11%
Chinese                          11%.................  22%
Korean                           10%.................  26%
White                             7%.................   2%
------------------------------------------------------------------------


            Chart M5: Los Angeles County--H.S. and Child LEP
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Less Than High
             Group                   School Degree       Child LEP Rate
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vietnamese                       39%.................  41%
County                           30%.................  23%
Chinese                          24%.................  30%
Asian overall                    18%.................  24%
Korean                           12%.................  30%
White                            11%.................   4%
Filipino                         10%.................  10%
Japanese                          7%.................  12%
------------------------------------------------------------------------


               Chart M6: Orange County--H.S. and Child LEP
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Less Than High
             Group                   School Degree       Child LEP Rate
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vietnamese                       34%.................  42%
County                           21%.................  19%
Asian overall                    19%.................  26%
Chinese                          12%.................  19%
Korean                           10%.................  27%
Filipino                          8%.................   8%
White                             7%.................   2%
------------------------------------------------------------------------


             Chart M7: San Diego County--H.S. and Child LEP
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Less Than High
             Group                   School Degree       Child LEP Rate
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vietnamese                       40%.................  38%
Asian overall                    18%.................  16%
County                           17%.................  14%
Chinese                          16%.................  14%
Filipino                         14%.................  7%
Korean                           10%.................  24%
White                             8%.................   2%
------------------------------------------------------------------------


             Chart M8: Sacramento County--H.S. and Child LEP
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Less Than High
             Group                   School Degree       Child LEP Rate
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vietnamese                       39%.................  34%
Chinese                          29%.................  25%
Asian overall                    27%.................  29%
Korean                           20%.................  15%
County                           17%.................  11%
Filipino                         12%.................   4%
White                            11%.................   5%
------------------------------------------------------------------------


    The Committee has received testimony highlighting instances 
where citizens who are unable to speak English proficiently 
have encountered degraded educational opportunities. Evidence 
of unequal educational opportunities can also be found in court 
decisions. For example, in the State of Alaska, testimony 
revealed that during ``the 2003-2004 school year, the statewide 
graduation rate for all students was 62.9 percent compared to 
the 47.5 percent of Alaska Native students who graduated.'' 
\121\ Reports from the State of Alaska further highlight recent 
cases, such as Kasayulie v. State of Alaska, in which the 
Alaska Superior Court identified discrepancies in funding made 
available to Native and non-Native students.\122\ In 
particular, the Court reiterated the ``affirmative duty on the 
State to provide public education,'' and found the discrepancy 
in funding for school construction in urban and rural Alaska 
unconstitutionally discriminated against Alaska Natives.\123\ 
Section 203 remains a vital tool to ensure that those who are 
unable to avail themselves of adequate educational assistance 
continue to be able to vote without discrimination.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \121\ See Landreth and Smith, Voting Rights Act Reauthorization 
2007: Alaska Report, March 2006, at 27.
    \122\ Id.(citing No. 3AN-97-3782 CIV, Order granting plaintiffs' 
motion for partial summary judgment on facilities funding, Sept. 1, 
1999.).
    \123\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Other examples of unequal educational opportunities 
received by the Committee reveals that Asian American and 
Hispanic children in California have lower rates of educational 
attainment than white students. In particular, the Committee 
found that ``nineteen percent of Asian Americans have less than 
a high school degree, compared with 10 percent of the white 
population.'' \124\ The Committee was informed that 1.6 million 
language minority students in California are considered to be 
English language learners, and that a significant portion of 
these students have trouble maintaining similar levels of 
academic achievement as their English proficient 
counterparts.\125\ Moreover, testimony reveals that language 
minority students, and English learners in particular, were the 
first to be adversely affected by decisions made by States and 
local school boards. These decisions have forced English 
language learners to seek protection from Federal courts to 
prevent such disparate treatment.\126\ Since 1975, 24 
discrimination lawsuits have been filed on behalf of English 
language learners in 15 States, 14 of which have been filed in 
jurisdictions that are covered by the language assistance 
provisions.\127\ Since 1992, ten lawsuits have been filed, with 
cases pending in three States that are covered statewide under 
Section 4(f)4 of the Act, Texas, Alaska, Arizona, and Florida 
and in other States with large language minority populations, 
including California and New York.\128\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \124\ Letter from Stewart Kohl, President and Executive Director, 
The Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California, to The 
Honorable Steve Chabot, Chairman, Subcommittee on the Constitution 
(November 16, 2005).
    \125\ Id.
    \126\ Id.
    \127\ See Legislative Hearing on H.R. 9, Voting Rights Act 
Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006 (Part II), Subcommittee on 
the Constitution, Committee on the Judiciary, 109th Cong. 2 (May 4, 
2006)(statement of Dr. James Thomas Tucker, Voting Rights Consultant 
for the National Association of Latino Elected and appointed Officials 
(NALEO) Educational Fund).
    \128\ Id.; see also Kasayulie v. State of Alaska, Case No. 3AN-97-
3782-CIV (Alaska Superior Ct. 1999); Flores v. State of Arizona, 405 F. 
Supp.2d 1112 (D. Ariz. 2005) (contempt order); CHE v. Denver Public 
Schools, a 1983 case resolved by consent decree after the United States 
Department of Justice intervened in 1999, 1999 WL 33300905; League of 
United Latin American Citizens et al. v. Florida Board of Education, 
Case No. 90-1913-Civ.-Scott (S.D. Fla. 1990) (consent decree) and Case 
No. 90-1913-Civ.-Moreno (S.D. Fla. 2003) (amending consent decree); 
Bilingual Master Parents Advisory Council v. Boston School Committee, 
2002 WL 992541 (Mass. Super. Ct. May 15, 2002); United States v. City 
of Yonkers, 123 F. Supp.2d 694 (S.D.N.Y. 2000); Y.S. v. School District 
of Philadelphia, Case No. 85-6924 (E.D. Pa. 1986) (consent decree 
continued by stipulation in 2001). In addition, requests for relief are 
pending in other states where findings of educational discrimination 
have already been made, including Texas. United States v. State of 
Texas, 6:71-CV-5281 (E.D. Tex. 2006) (pending motion for further relief 
for alleged violations of consent decree).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The problems faced by citizens who are limited-English 
proficient, linguistically isolated, and who face limited 
educational opportunities, impairing their ability to 
understand the electoral process, are exacerbated by the 
failure of jurisdictions to comply with Section 203. The 
Committee received substantial testimony revealing that more 
than half of the 505 jurisdictions covered by Section 203 were 
not in full compliance, providing some form of written or oral 
assistance, but not both; in many instances there was no 
compliance at all. For example, the Committee received 
testimony from Latino and Hispanic organizations that ``during 
the 2004 election in Pima County, Arizona, Latino LEP voters 
were denied equal access to voting due to the lack of 
sufficient bilingual ballots. Consequently, Latino voters were 
relegated to crowd around one translated, poster-sized board of 
more than a dozen initiatives that were on the ballot. At dusk, 
even this inadequate attempt to comply with Section 203 
completely failed, given that the poster board was illegible 
due to the lack of lighting around it.'' \129\ Similar examples 
were reported by language minority voters from covered 
jurisdictions across the country, including New Mexico, New 
Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Alaska, Texas, California, and 
South Dakota. In some cases, the Committee was informed that 
jurisdictions covered by Section 203 reported not providing any 
assistance. The increased number of Section 203 enforcement 
actions undertaken by DOJ, have allowed a growing number of 
linguistically challenged minorities to participate in the 
voting process.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \129\ See Statement from Angela M. Arboleda, National Council of La 
Raza, to the Honorable Steve Chabot, Chairman, Subcommittee on the 
Constitution, (November 22, 2005).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Relatedly, the Committee received testimony that the number 
of enforcement actions undertaken by the Department of Justice 
to ensure compliance has increased over the last several years. 
For example, the Department of Justice reported an increase in 
the number of Section 203 enforcement actions since 2000. 
Enforcement cases such as the action taken in Osceola County, 
Florida, where the Department of Justice filed suit to remedy 
the ``widespread violation of minority voting rights, including 
poll workers making hostile remarks to Spanish-speaking voters 
to discourage them from voting, the failure of poll officials 
to communicate effectively with Spanish-speaking voters, 
failure to staff polling places with bilingual poll officials, 
and failure to translate ballots and other election materials 
in Spanish,'' have been critical to protecting language 
minority voters.\130\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \130\ See JoNel Newman, Unfinished Business: The Case For 
Continuing Special Voting Rights Act Coverage in Florida (March 8, 
2006) (citing Complaint, United States v. Osceola County, Civil Action 
No. 6:02-CV-738-ORL-22JGG (M.D. Fla. 2002)).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Section 2 Litigation
    While not the focus of its examination, the Committee notes 
the importance of Section 2 in protecting minority voters. 
Moreover, the Committee finds the continued need for Section 2 
to protect the rights of racial and language minority groups in 
jurisdictions covered by the temporary provisions of the VRA, 
such as Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Louisiana, and 
South Dakota, significant. In many of the jurisdictions covered 
by the Sections 4 through 9 of the Voting Rights Act, the 
initial gains made by minority voters were the result of 
Section 2 enforcement, as was the case in Citizens for a Better 
Gretna v. City of Gretna, which the Committee finds to be 
illustrative of the important role Section 2 plays.\131\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \131\ See Citizens for a Better Gretna v. Gretna, 636 F.Supp.1113, 
1118 (E.D. La. 1986).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In Gretna, African American voters brought an action under 
the VRA challenging the city's at-large aldermanic elections. 
Plaintiffs presented evidence, which the court found ``cogent[] 
and convincing[],'' that African Americans were excluded from 
the Miller-White Ticket, and by extension meaningful 
participation in the political process in Gretna.
    The city had an at-large voting system for its Board of 
Alderman, as well as a majority vote requirement. No African 
American had ever been elected to the board, despite the fact 
that African Americans constituted 28% of the city's 
population. The district court found the election system 
violated the VRA and the city appealed. The Fifth Circuit 
upheld the lower court decision, finding that at-large 
aldermanic elections violated Section 2 of the VRA. The court 
also observed that:

        [t]he history of black citizens' attempts, in Louisiana 
        since Reconstruction, to participate effectively in the 
        political process and the white majority's resistance 
        to those efforts is one characterized by both de jure 
        and de facto discrimination. Indeed, it would take a 
        multi-volume[] treatise to properly describe the 
        persistent, and often violent, intimidation visited by 
        white citizens upon black efforts to participate in 
        Louisiana's political process.\132\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \132\ Id.

    In other reports presented to the Committee, it was shown 
that of all the successful litigation undertaken in the last 25 
years pursuant to Section 2, more than half of the cases were 
filed in covered jurisdictions, which contain less than 39 
percent of the country's total population.\133\ It was further 
reported to the Committee that African American plaintiffs 
filed and won the largest number of suits under Section 2, with 
Latino citizens close behind.\134\ The Committee finds that 
results achieved in Section 2 cases, such as in Gretna and 
other litigation, must be protected. Section 5, and the other 
temporary provisions have been and continue to be a shield that 
prevents backsliding from the gains previously won.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \133\ See Ellen Katz, Documenting Discrimination in Voting: 
Judicial Findings Under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act Since 1982 
(December 2005).
    \134\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Need to Extend the Temporary Provisions--Exceptional Conditions 
        Continue to Exist in 2006
    The Committee's findings of continued efforts to 
discriminate against minority citizens in voting demonstrate 
that despite substantial improvements, there is a demonstrated 
and continuing need to reauthorize the temporary 
provisions.\135\ In reauthorizing the temporary provisions for 
an additional 25 years, the Committee is aware that it is again 
acting under its broadest power--to remedy continued 
discrimination.\136\ However, the record reveals that without 
the remedies available from the VRA's temporary provisions, the 
injury to minority citizens and their right to the electoral 
franchise will be significant.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \135\ See South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U.S. 301 (1966).
    \136\ See U.S. Const. amend. XIV, Sec. 5 and amend. XV, Sec. 2.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Remedial Power of Congress
    Congress acts pursuant to its broadest powers when 
remedying discrimination. When the Supreme Court first upheld 
the provisions of the VRA, the temporary provisions that will 
expire at the end of 2007, it stated that Congress has the 
power to address voting discrimination broadly. In South 
Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U.S. 301 (1966), the Court stated 
that ``Congress assumed the power to prescribe these remedies 
from Sec. 2 of the 15th amendment, which authorizes the 
National Legislature to effectuate by `appropriate' measures 
the constitutional prohibition against racial discrimination in 
voting. We hold that the sections of the Act which are properly 
before us are an appropriate means for carrying out Congress' 
constitutional responsibilities and are consonant with all 
other provisions of the Constitution.'' \137\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \137\ See South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U.S. 301, 308 (1966) 
(holding that provisions of Voting Rights Act of 1965 pertaining to 
review of proposed alteration of voting qualifications and procedures 
were appropriate means for carrying out Congress' constitutional 
responsibilities under the 15th amendment and were consonant with all 
other provisions of the Constitution).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In describing the expansiveness of Congress's power to 
address voting discrimination, the Supreme Court held that 
Congress's power extends to the outer-most limits of the 
Necessary and Proper Clause, stating:

        The basic test to be applied in a case involving Sec. 2 
        of the 15th amendment is the same as in all cases 
        concerning the express powers of Congress with relation 
        to the reserved powers of the States. Chief Justice 
        Marshall laid down the classic formulation, 50 years 
        before the 15th amendment was ratified: ``Let the end 
        be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the 
        Constitution, and all means which are appropriate, 
        which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not 
        prohibited, but consistent with the letter and spirit 
        of the Constitution, are constitutional.'' The Court 
        has subsequently echoed his language in describing each 
        of the Civil War Amendments: ``Whatever legislation is 
        appropriate, that is, adapted to carry out the objects 
        the amendments have in view, whatever tends to enforce 
        submission to the prohibitions they contain, and to 
        secure to all persons the enjoyment of perfect equality 
        of civil rights and the equal protection of the laws 
        against State denial or invasion, if not prohibited, is 
        brought within the domain of congressional power.\138\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \138\ See South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U.S. 301, 326-27 (1966) 
(citations omitted).

    The Court stated that ``The language and purpose of the 
Fifteenth Amendment, the prior decisions construing its several 
provisions, and the general doctrines of constitutional 
interpretation, all point to one fundamental principle. As 
against the reserved powers of the States, Congress may use any 
rational means to effectuate the constitutional prohibition of 
racial discrimination in voting . . . Sec. 2 of the Fifteenth 
Amendment expressly declares that `Congress shall have power to 
enforce this article by appropriate legislation.' By adding 
this authorization, the Framers indicated that Congress was to 
be chiefly responsible for implementing the rights created in 
Sec. 1. . . . Accordingly, in addition to the courts, Congress 
has full remedial powers to effectuate the constitutional 
prohibition against racial discrimination in voting.'' \139\ 
The Court added that ``Legislation need not deal with all 
phases of a problem in the same way, so long as the 
distinctions drawn have some basis in practical experience.'' 
\140\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \139\ See Id. at 325-27 (emphasis added).
    \140\ See Id. at 331 (emphasis added).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
City of Boerne v. Flores
    While a ``congruence and proportionality'' test was 
announced in City of Boerne v. Flores,\141\ and applied to 
Congressional actions taken under the 14th amendment, the Court 
highlighted the broad authorization the 15th amendment confers 
upon Congress.\142\ It stated in Boerne that ``[L]egislation 
which deters or remedies constitutional violations can fall 
within the sweep of Congress' enforcement power even if in the 
process it prohibits conduct which is not itself 
unconstitutional and intrudes into legislative spheres of 
autonomy previously reserved to the States. For example, the 
Court upheld a suspension of literacy tests and similar voting 
requirements under Congress' parallel power to enforce the 
provisions of the 15th amendment as a measure to combat racial 
discrimination in voting despite the facial constitutionality 
of the tests . . .'' \143\ The Court in Boerne stated 
approvingly that ``to ensure that the reach of the Voting 
Rights Act was limited to those cases in which constitutional 
violations were most likely (in order to reduce the possibility 
of over breadth), the coverage under the Act would terminate at 
the behest of States and political subdivisions in which the 
danger of substantial voting discrimination has not 
materialized during the preceding 5 years.'' \144\ H.R. 9 
preserves those same provisions that allow States and political 
subdivisions to escape coverage by showing the danger of 
substantial voting discrimination has not materialized during 
the preceding (now ten) years.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \141\ 521 U.S. 507, 530 (1997) (``While preventive rules are 
sometimes appropriate remedial measures, there must be a congruence 
between the means used and the ends to be achieved.'').
    \142\ City of Boerne (struck down the Religious Freedom Restoration 
Act as beyond Congress's power under the enforcement clause of the 14th 
amendment, it did so on the grounds that the Act, if enforced, would 
change the meaning of the Free Exercise Clause.). Id. at 519. Certainly 
any extension of the VRA could not reasonably be described as altering 
the meaning of the 15th amendment's prohibition on the denial of the 
right to vote on the basis of race. The Court also made clear in Boerne 
that it was not suggesting that ``Sec. 5 legislation requires 
termination dates, geographic restrictions, or egregious predicates.'' 
Id. at 533.
    \143\ Id.
    \144\ Id. at 533 (quotations and citations omitted).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Subsequent cases have held that Congress's authority to 
address voting discrimination extends to the creation of 
remedies that prohibit not only purposeful discrimination, but 
also discriminatory effects,\145\ and Congress's authority to 
do so will only be tested under a rational basis standard. In 
the City of Rome v. United States,\146\ the Court held ``that 
the Act's ban on electoral changes that are discriminatory in 
effect is an appropriate method of promoting the purposes of 
the Fifteenth Amendment, even if it is assumed that Sec. 1 of 
the Amendment prohibits only intentional discrimination in 
voting. Congress could rationally have concluded that, because 
electoral changes by jurisdictions with a demonstrable history 
of intentional racial discrimination in voting create the risk 
of purposeful discrimination, it was proper to prohibit changes 
that have a discriminatory impact.'' \147\ In that case, the 
Court also stated ``Congress passed the Act under the authority 
accorded it by the Fifteenth Amendment. We hold that, even if 
Sec. 1 of the Amendment prohibits only purposeful 
discrimination, the prior decisions of this Court foreclose any 
argument that Congress may not, pursuant to Sec. 2, outlaw 
voting practices that are discriminatory in effect . . . 
Congress may, under the authority of Sec. 2 of the Fifteenth 
Amendment, prohibit state action that, though in itself not 
violative of Sec. 1, perpetuates the effects of past 
discrimination.'' \148\ In its first decision addressing the 
VRA after City of Rome and City of Boerne, the Supreme Court 
upheld Congress's authority to remedy racial discrimination in 
voting. In Lopez v. Monterey County, the Court reaffirmed 
``Congress's . . . constitutional authority to designate 
covered jurisdictions and to guard against changes that give 
rise to a discriminatory effect in those jurisdictions . . . 
Section 5, as we interpret it today, burdens State law only to 
the extent that the law affects voting in jurisdictions 
properly designated for coverage.'' \149\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \145\ See City of Rome v. United States, 446 U.S. 156, 173, 176 
(1980). See also Tennessee v. Lane, 541 U.S. 509, 520 (2004) (``When 
Congress seeks to remedy or prevent unconstitutional discrimination, 
Sec. 5 [of the Fourteenth Amendment] authorizes it to enact 
prophylactic legislation proscribing practices that are discriminatory 
in effect, if not in intent, to carry out the basic objectives of the 
Equal Protection Clause.'')
    \146\ 466 U.S. 156, 177 (1980) (emphasis added).
    \147\ Id.
    \148\ Id. at 176.
    \149\ See 525 U.S.266, 283 (1999).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Record of Continued Efforts to Discriminate in Covered Jurisdictions
    The record before the Committee reveals that extending the 
VRA's temporary provisions is necessary to protect racial and 
language minority citizens located in covered jurisdictions 
from discrimination. As a result, the gains achieved by 
minority voters over the last 40 years are vulnerable without 
the protections afforded by the temporary provisions. It is in 
light of this reality that the Committee concludes that the 
temporary provisions of the VRA must be reauthorized, including 
Section 4(a)(8) and the provisions it triggers, as well as 
Section 203, for an additional 25 years.
    Indeed, in reauthorizing the temporary provisions for an 
additional 25 years, the Committee looks to related Supreme 
Court decisions, such as Tennessee v. Lane, to address 
constitutional concerns about continued reauthorizations of the 
VRA. In Tennessee v. Lane, the Court noted that ``The unequal 
treatment of disabled persons in the administration of judicial 
services has a long history, and has persisted despite several 
legislative efforts to remedy the problem of disability 
discrimination.'' \150\ Similar circumstances are true of the 
VRA: despite previous reauthorizations, the problem of voting 
discrimination justified reauthorization. In light of the 
considerable record before it, the Committee has a duty to 
maintain the protections afforded by the temporary provisions 
by reauthorizing these vital provisions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \150\ Tennessee v. Lane, 541 U.S. 509, 531 (2004).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reauthorizing Section 4(a)(8)
    Forty years has been an insufficient amount of time to 
address the century during which racial minorities were denied 
the full rights of citizenship. While substantial strides have 
been made toward racial equality, the attitudes and actions of 
some States and political subdivisions continue to fall short. 
Progress has been made by minority voters, some of which has 
been significant. However, the Committee's record demonstrates 
the importance of reauthorizing the VRA's vital provisions.
    The Committee believes that if not for the temporary 
provisions of the VRA the gains made by minorities would not 
have been made. But as Congress found in 1982, the gains are 
fragile.\151\ The Committee is not willing to jeopardize 40 
years of progress made by minority citizens by allowing the 
temporary provisions to expire, especially in the face of the 
evidence of discrimination compiled in the record.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \151\ See H.R Rep. No. 97-227, at 7 (1982).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Indeed, the substantial volume of evidence warranting H.R. 
9 compiled by the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on 
the Constitution far exceeds the quantum of evidence found 
adequate in other contexts (in which Congress's power is less 
broad) to justify Congressional action to remedy 
discrimination. As characterized by the Supreme Court in 
Tennessee v. Lane, the Supreme Court in Neveda Department of 
Resources v. Hibbs relied on only the following sources in 
holding that Congress under the 14th amendment had the power to 
enact the Family and Medical Leave Act, which prophylactically 
sought to prevent gender discrimination in the provision of 
work leave:

        Specifically, we relied on (1) a Senate Report citation 
        to a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey revealing 
        disparities in private-sector provision of parenting 
        leave to men and women; (2) submissions from two 
        sources at a hearing on the Parental and Medical Leave 
        Act of 1986, a predecessor bill to the FMLA, that 
        public-sector parental leave polices ``diffe[r] 
        little'' from private-sector policies; (3) evidence 
        that 15 States provided women up to 1 year of extended 
        maternity leave, while only 4 States provided for 
        similarly extended paternity leave; and (4) a House 
        Report's quotation of a study that found that failure 
        to implement uniform standards for parenting leave 
        would ``leav[e] Federal employees open to discretionary 
        and possibly unequal treatment.'' \152\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \152\ Tennessee v. Lane, 541 U.S. 509, 529 n.17 (2004) (citing 
Nevada Department of Human Resources v. Hibbs, 538 U.S. 721, 728-33 
(2003)) (holding that Congress under the 14th amendment had the power 
to enact the Family and Medical Leave Act, which prophylactically 
sought to prevent gender discrimination in the provision of work 
leave.).

    Indeed, the Committee believes that a failure to 
reauthorize the temporary provisions, given the record 
established, would leave minority citizens with the inadequate 
remedy of a Section 2 action. The Committee knows from history 
that case-by-case enforcement alone is not enough to combat the 
efforts of certain States and jurisdictions to discriminate 
against minority citizens in the electoral process. Moreover, 
the Committee finds that Section 2 would be ineffective to 
protect the rights of minority voters, especially in light of 
the increased activity under Sections 5 and 8 over the last 25 
years. It is against this backdrop that the Committee finds it 
necessary to extend the temporary provisions for an additional 
25 years.
    In upholding the 1975 VRA extension, the Supreme Court 
noted that a 7-year extension was ``plainly constitutional'' in 
light of the 95-year period of pervasive discrimination it was 
attempting to remedy.\153\ Thus, despite the fact that another 
25 years will have passed in 2007 since the 1982 VRA extension, 
another 25 years of remedial measures (for a total of 67 years 
of remedial measures under the VRA until 2032) remains 
appropriate given the near century of discrimination the Act is 
designed to combat.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \153\ City of Rome v. United States, 446 U.S. 156, 182 (1980) (``In 
adopting the Voting Rights Act, Congress sought to remedy [the 
previous] century of obstruction by shifting `the advantage of time and 
inertia from the perpetrators of the evil to its victims.' Ten years 
later, Congress found that a 7-year extension of the Act was necessary 
to preserve the `limited and fragile' achievements of the Act and to 
promote further amelioration of voting discrimination. When viewed in 
this light, Congress' considered determination that at least another 7 
years of statutory remedies were necessary to counter the perpetuation 
of 95 years of pervasive voting discrimination is both unsurprising and 
unassailable. The extension of the Act, then, was plainly a 
constitutional method of enforcing the Fifteenth Amendment.'') 
(emphasis added) (citations omitted).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In 1982, Congress amended the bailout provision to 
encourage covered jurisdictions to work to end discriminatory 
conduct and to accept and include minority citizens into the 
electoral process. To date, 11 counties from the covered State 
of Virginia have utilized the bailout process. The Committee is 
disappointed that more States have not taken advantage of this 
liberalized process and finds it telling of the commitment by 
some of the covered jurisdictions to end discriminatory 
practices. The Committee reiterates that termination of covered 
status has been and continues to be within the reach of 
compliant covered jurisdictions and hopes that more covered 
States and political subdivisions will take advantage of the 
process.\154\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \154\ Voting Rights Act: An Examination of the Scope and Criteria 
for Coverage Under the Special Provision sof the Act Before the H. 
Comm. on the Judiciary. 109th Cong. 104 (2005) (statement of Gerald 
Hebert, former Acting Chief, Civil Rights Division, United States 
Department of Justice, describing the bailout process since 1982 as 
``just the right stuff. They go exactly to the issues that Congress was 
concerned about when it enacted the Voting Rights Act in the first 
place . . . I think they're perfectly tailored to meet the nature and 
extent of the violation, which is exactly what the Supreme Court has 
said repeatedly in this area.'')
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reauthorizing Section 203
    In reauthorizing Section 203 for an additional 25 years, 
the Committee finds that language minorities have made 
progress, but continue to experience barriers to and within the 
electoral process. The Committee specifically reaffirms the 
findings in Section 203(a), which provides:

        The Congress finds that, through the use of various 
        practices and procedures, citizens of language 
        minorities have been effectively excluded from 
        participation in the electoral process. Among other 
        factors, the denial of the right to vote of such 
        minority group citizens is ordinarily related to the 
        unequal educational opportunities afforded them, 
        resulting in high illiteracy and low voting 
        participation.

The Committee received a substantial record of documented 
discrimination in voting and education that supports 
maintaining the protections in Section 4(f) and Section 203 of 
the Voting Rights Act for the four covered language groups, 
Alaska Natives, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and citizens 
of Hispanic origin.
    Congress found that there is a positive correlation between 
the bilingual assistance provisions and increased voter 
registration levels in jurisdictions fully complying with 
Section 203. At the same time, a significant number of 
jurisdictions have yet to fully comply with Section 203's 
obligations, which has had the effect of keeping citizens from 
experiencing full participation in the electoral process.
    The Committee notes the desire of many to see our citizens 
with limited English skills speak and understand English 
proficiently. The Committee agrees that this should be a goal 
all citizens of the United States should aspire to achieve. The 
English language has been and continues to be a great unifying 
force. The Committee believes that all newly arrived citizens 
and those who are native born should strive to learn English in 
order to fully embrace all that this Nation has to offer. 
However, the Committee notes that significant population 
increases have occurred among language minority groups over the 
last several decades, such as citizens of Hispanic origin who 
now are the largest minority population in the country and 
Asian Americans, who have also witnessed large population 
increases. It has been these newly arrived citizens, as well as 
subsequent generations, who have suffered most from the 
inability to speak English and who have lacked the resources 
and support to learn English proficiently.
    The continued need for bilingual support is reflected by: 
(1) the increased number of linguistically isolated households, 
particularly among Hispanic and Asian American communities; (2) 
the increased number of language minority students who are 
considered to be English language learners, such that students 
do not speak English well enough to understand the required 
curriculum and require supplemental classes; (3) the continued 
disparity in educational opportunities as demonstrated by the 
disparate impact that budget shortfalls have on language 
minority citizens, and the continued need for litigation to 
protect English language learners; and (4) the lack of 
available literacy centers and English as a Second Language 
programs. In reauthorizing Section 203, the Committee continues 
to believe in exercising the right to vote, language minority 
citizens should have the substantive right to understand the 
voting process and make informed decisions from start to 
finish, including how to register to vote, where to vote, and 
what issues and candidates are contained on the ballot. 
However, language assistance that facilitates equal 
participation in the voting process so language minority 
citizens are able to cast effective ballots does not require 
private citizens to make privately prepared and distributed 
materials available in the covered languages. In recognizing 
the exclusion of petitions that are initiated and distributed 
by private citizens from Section 203's requirements, the 
Committee restates its position that Section 203 is intended to 
remedy the ``denial of the right to vote of such minority group 
citizens . . . [that is] directly related to the unequal 
educational opportunities afforded them, resulting in high 
illiteracy and low voting participation.'' \155\ To impose 
Section 203's requirements on private citizens whose actions 
are outside governmentally administered voting systems would 
have the effect of penalizing private citizens for injuries 
caused by States. Section 203's assistance is a remedy for the 
past and present failures of States and jurisdictions to remedy 
educational disparities, putting language minority citizens on 
an equal footing in exercising the right to vote.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \155\ See Section 203 (a).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As early as 1923, the Supreme Court found, in Meyers v. 
Nebraska, that:

        Certain fundamental rights [are guaranteed] to all 
        those who speak other languages as well as to those 
        born with English on the tongue. Perhaps it would be 
        advantageous if all had ready understanding of our 
        ordinary speech, but this cannot be coerced by methods 
        which conflict with the Constitution--a desirable end 
        cannot be promoted by prohibited means.\156\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \156\ See H.R. Rep. No. 97-227 (1982) (citing, Meyers v. Nebraska, 
262 U.S.390, 401 (1923)).

    In 1966, the Supreme Court upheld Section 4(e) of the VRA, 
finding that Congress was within its authority to ``question 
whether denial of a right so precious and fundamental in our 
society [the right to vote] was a necessary and or appropriate 
means of encouraging persons to learn English or of furthering 
the goal of an intelligent exercise of the franchise.'' \157\ 
In 1969, the Supreme Court further confirmed the impact that 
literacy tests had on citizens who were subjected to inferior 
educational opportunities, finding ``that it is only reasonable 
to infer that among black children compelled to endure a 
segregated and inferior education, fewer will achieve any given 
degree of literacy than will their better-educated white 
contemporaries.'' \158\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \157\ See Katzenbach v. Morgan, 384 U.S. 641, 654 (1966).
    \158\ See Gaston County, North Carolina v. United States, 395 U.S. 
285, 295 (1969).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    It was on these bases that, in 1975, Congress expanded the 
protections of the VRA to ensure that all citizens have the 
opportunity to participate in the electoral process. In 
authorizing Sections 4(f) and 203, Congress did not want 
language to be a barrier to exercising the most fundamental 
right in our system of government, a right which had been 
historically compromised by the deliberate barriers erected by 
the administration of English-only elections, barriers that 
were exacerbated by the unequal educational opportunities that 
existed and continue to exist.
    Thirty years later, the Committee finds that our Nation's 
educational system has improved. However, disparities in 
education continue to exist, resulting in the disparate 
treatment of language minority citizens and students. The 
evidence reveals that English language learner students must 
rely almost exclusively on the judicial system to protect their 
rights to equal educational opportunities. Since 1992, at least 
10 successful cases have been filed, with litigation and 
consent decrees pending in the three States that are covered 
statewide under Section 4(f)4 of the Act, Texas, Alaska, 
Arizona, and Florida and in other States with large language 
minority populations, including California and New York.
    Testimony also revealed that adult citizens are impacted in 
their ability to learn English by the lack of literacy centers 
and lack of funding devoted to increasing the number of centers 
to accommodate the demonstrated need. The lack of funding to 
expand the number of ESL centers around the country leaves 
minority citizens unable to enroll in classes for several 
years, increasing the need for assistance while they wait.\159\ 
The Committee also notes the time it takes for citizens to 
learn English. Native English speaking citizens have an 
advantage over naturalized citizens. For non-Native English 
speakers, learning English takes several years to even obtain a 
fundamental understanding of the English language--certainly 
not enough to understand complex ballots that native English 
speaking citizens often do not understand. Citizens should not 
be penalized for trying to learn English and exercising their 
right to vote. Section 4(f) and 203 level the playing field for 
language minority citizens, ensuring that the most fundamental 
right of all citizens is preserved regardless of one's ability 
to speak English well.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \159\ See Legislative Hearing on H.R. 9, Voting Rights Act 
Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006 (Part II), Subcommittee on 
the Constitution, Committee on the Judiciary, 109th Cong. 2 (May 4, 
2006)(statement of Dr. James Thomas Tucker, Voting Rights Consultant 
for the National Association of Latino Elected and appointed Officials 
(NALEO) Educational Fund).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee notes the concerns of many that the 
Department of Justice's enforcement of Section 203's 
requirements is inconsistent with the spirit of Section 203. 
The Committee is concerned about the Department's 
disproportionate reliance on sur-name analyses. These actions 
are not consistent with the spirit and intent of Section 203. 
The Committee cautions the Department in reliance on such 
analyses and encourages the Department to work more closely 
with the minority community to determine the level of 
assistance necessary rather than making assumptions based on 
last name alone. The Committee intends to monitor the 
Department closely in its administration and enforcement of 
Section 203 to ensure that the Department is not imposing 
requirements on jurisdictions not mandated by Section 203.
The Need to Update and Clarify Certain Temporary and Permanent 
        Provisions to Strengthen Protections and Enforcement Mechanisms 
        (Section 3(a), 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, and 203)
    In reauthorizing the temporary provisions for an additional 
25 years, the Committee recognizes that the electoral 
environment has evolved since 1965. Certain barriers to voting 
that were pervasive in 1965 no longer exist. However, those 
barriers to voting have been replaced with new ones, such that 
other temporary provisions continue to be necessary. The record 
reveals that over the last 40 years, and in the last 25 years 
in particular, Section 5's preclearance requirement and Section 
8's Federal observer program have been vital tools to 
protecting minority voters. Bailout, available through Section 
4(a), while for the most part has gone unused until recently, 
has proven to be achievable to those jurisdictions that can 
demonstrate an end to their discriminatory histories. At the 
same time, the record reveals that Section 6, the Federal 
examiner program, has not been used in twenty years, suggesting 
to the Committee that examiners have successfully served their 
purpose. Recognizing these realities, the Committee amended and 
eliminated certain provisions to ensure that the VRA remains a 
relevant and an effective remedy to the continued problems of 
discrimination in the 21st century.
Sections 6, 7, and 9
    In weighing whether to reauthorize the Federal examiner 
program, the Committee looked to voting rights experts, and 
representatives from the Department of Justice and the Office 
of Personnel Management who have worked with and supported the 
Federal examiner program over the last several decades. 
Testimony received by the Committee revealed that the Federal 
examiner provisions were ``cumbersome'' and ``archaic,'' and 
their functions were considered to be ``outdated.'' \160\ In 
essence, it was reported that Federal examiners were ``not 
needed anymore.'' \161\ H.R. 9 reflects the lack of necessity 
and contains language to address this shift.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \160\ See Oversight Hearing, The Voting Rights Act: Sections 6 and 
8--The Federal Examiner and Observer Program, Subcommittee on the 
Constitution, Committee on the Judiciary, 109th Cong. 1 (November 15, 
2005) (statement of Barry J. Weinberg, former Deputy Chief and Acting 
Chief, Voting Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of 
Justice).
    \161\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In authorizing the Federal examiner provision, Congress 
sought to remedy the immediate barriers faced by minority 
citizens, mainly barriers to registration. Federal examiners 
were charged with ensuring that those citizens who were 
eligible to vote and who wanted to vote were able to register. 
To facilitate the process, Congress specifically authorized the 
procedures that examiners were to follow when listing a voter 
on Federal registration rolls. Moreover, Congress authorized a 
process under which those citizens who wanted to challenge the 
eligibility of a listed voter could do so. The positive impact 
that Sections 6, 7, and 9 have had on minority voters is 
reflected in the more than 100,000 citizens who were registered 
through Section 6.
    However, over the years, the need for Federal examiners to 
register eligible voters has declined. The decreased need for 
examiners can be attributed to the success of the other 
temporary provisions, as well as to the enactment of more 
recent Federal laws encouraging and supporting voter 
registration. In 1993, Congress enacted the National Voter 
Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) to make voter registration more 
accessible to citizens who wanted to vote. Under the NVRA, 
States are required to make registration materials available at 
all driver's license offices, public benefits offices, and 
other social service agencies. States are also required to 
maintain voter registration lists for Federal elections in 
accordance with standards set out by the NVRA. In addition to 
the NVRA, Congress enacted the Help America Vote Act of 2002 
(HAVA), which serves to assist States in improving the 
administration of elections. HAVA provides States with funding 
to improve voting technology and also requires States to meet 
minimum standards with regard to updating voting equipment, 
administering provisional balloting, and maintaining one 
centrally located Statewide voter registration list. The 
success of these laws is reflected in the increased number of 
minority citizens who are registered to vote. The fact that 
examiners have not contributed to these increases in the last 
20 years suggests to the Committee that examiners have outlived 
their usefulness.
Section 8
    Notwithstanding the elimination of the Federal examiner 
program, the Committee found a substantial need to continue the 
program assigning Federal observers on election day. As the 
only Federal officials authorized to enter polling locations, 
Federal observers continue to serve a vital enforcement 
function. The Committee found that the mere presence of Federal 
officials has worked to deter discriminatory conduct. In other 
cases, observations and reports of observers that most often 
provide the factual basis on which the Department of Justice 
proceeds to prosecute acts of harassment, intimidation, and 
discrimination engaged in by election officials. In 
reauthorizing the Federal observer program, the Committee is 
aware that, historically, observers have been assigned to 
covered jurisdictions only after a jurisdiction has been 
certified by the Attorney General, or a Federal court, for the 
use of examiners. However, since examiners have gone unused 
over the last twenty years, the Committee believes that 
minority voters will be better served by authorizing the 
Attorney General to directly certify jurisdictions for the use 
of Federal observers. In amending Section 8, the Committee 
authorizes the Attorney General to continue to coordinate with 
the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to send observers to a 
covered jurisdiction once the Attorney General determines that 
there is a reasonable belief that a violation of the 14th or 
15th amendment has occurred or will occur. The Committee also 
amended Section 8 by rendering the assignment of Federal 
observers by OPM mandatory upon request by the Attorney General 
following the required certification. In authorizing the 
Attorney General to certify jurisdictions for the use of 
Federal observers in the future, it is not the intent of this 
Committee to affect jurisdictions that have already been 
certified for examiners. Federal observers should continue to 
be assigned to these jurisdictions when there is a reasonable 
belief that voting violations will occur. The traditional 
functions of the Federal observers remain unchanged by the 
Committee. Federal observers shall continue to observe whether 
persons who are entitled to vote are permitted to do so and 
whether such votes cast are properly tabulated. Because of the 
elimination of examiners, observers shall report their 
observations directly to the Attorney General or, if assigned 
pursuant to Section 3(a), to the court.
Section 13
    The Committee will continue to make the same termination 
process available to those jurisdictions currently certified 
for the assignment of Federal examiners to those that will be 
certified for Federal observers in the future under Section 8. 
In assessing whether to terminate Federal examiner or observer 
certification, the Attorney General or the court shall continue 
to have the authority to make such determinations upon 
petitions by the covered jurisdiction.
Section 3(a), Section 4(a) and (b)
    In striking Section 6, the Committee was required to make 
several conforming changes. Those changes are reflected in 
Section 3(a), in which the Committee replaced the authority of 
the Federal courts to assign Federal examiners with the 
authority to assign Federal observers pursuant to Section 8. In 
Section 4(a), the Committee added the requirement that ``no 
observers have been assigned to a jurisdiction'' to the 
existing criteria that a jurisdiction must establish when 
applying for bailout. Section 4(b) was amended to reflect that 
determinations by the Attorney General with respect to Section 
8 are not reviewable by a Federal court, as has been the case 
for decisions related to Federal examiners.
Section 203
    In reauthorizing Section 203, the Committee was made aware 
that the United States Census Bureau has changed its data 
collection methods, eliminating the use of the long form 
questionnaire. The long form questionnaire was the detailed 
document used by the Census Bureau every decade to gather 
demographic, housing, and social information and upon which 
determinations with respect to Section 203 were made. In its 
place, the Census Bureau has been issuing the American 
Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is a detailed survey conducted 
by the Census Bureau that will be updated on a rolling basis 
annually. While issued to a smaller universe of households more 
frequently, the survey is designed to reach a greater number of 
individuals per decade (because it is issued more frequently), 
providing a more detailed look at communities on a more timely 
basis. In comparing the relevant questions from the long form 
questionnaire with the questions provided on the ACS, the 
Committee finds no substantive difference between the two 
documents and expects that the ACS will be a suitable 
substitute for the outdated long form questionnaire. In 
addition to identifying the ACS as the basis upon which the 
Director of the Census is required to make Section 203 
determinations, the Committee also finds a benefit to reliance 
on survey results published on a more timely basis, as it 
better reflects our country's rapidly changing makeup, as 
opposed to a reliance on results published only every decade. 
To reflect this need, Section 203 was also amended to require 
the Director of the United States Census to make determinations 
every 5 years based on a rolling 5 year average.
Section 14
    In amending Section 14 of the VRA to explicitly include the 
recovery of expert costs as part of attorneys fees, the 
Committee seeks to update the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to 
comport with other Federal civil rights laws. Early in 1991, 
the Supreme Court held in West Virginia Hospitals, Inc. v. 
Casey that ``Fees for services rendered by experts in civil 
rights litigation may not be shifted to the losing party as 
part of `a reasonable attorneys fee' under Sec. 1988.'' \162\ 
Later that same year, Congress ``amended the Civil Rights Act 
of 1964 to strengthen and improve Federal civil rights laws,'' 
including providing for the recovery of expert fees as part of 
attorneys fees.\163\ In amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 
Congress specifically ``recognized that evidence from one or 
more expert witnesses is critical to trying an employment 
discrimination case.'' \164\ The Committee finds the same to be 
true in the context of voting discrimination cases pursued 
under the relevant provisions of the VRA. The Committee 
received substantial testimony indicating that much of the 
burden associated with either proving or defending a Section 2 
vote dilution claim is established by information that only an 
expert can prepare.\165\ In harmonizing the Voting Rights Act 
of 1965 with other Federal civil rights laws, the Committee 
also seeks to ensure that those minority voters who have been 
victimized by continued acts of discrimination are made whole.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \162\ See 499 U.S. 83 (1991).
    \163\ See Pub. L. No. 102-166 (1991).
    \164\ See H.R. Rep. No. 102-40, at 30 (1991).
    \165\ See Oversight Hearing on the Voting Rights Act: Judicial 
Evolution of the Retrogression Standard, Subcommittee on the 
Constitution, Committee on the Judiciary, 109th Cong. 1 (November 9, 
2005).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Congressional Intent with Regard to Section 5 and Supreme Court 
        Decisions (South Carolina, Beer, Bossier II, and Georgia v. 
        Ashcroft)
    In addition to updating the temporary provisions of the 
VRA, the Committee found that a series of Supreme Court 
decisions, beginning in 2000, have significantly weakened 
Section 5's effectiveness as a tool to protect minority voters. 
These developments sharply conflict with the intent of 
Congress. Beginning with the case Reno v. Bossier Parish (II), 
which was followed 3 years later by the decision in Georgia v. 
Ashcroft, the Supreme Court has interpreted Section 5 to allow 
preclearance of voting changes that would have previously drawn 
objections. As a matter of statutory construction, the 
Committee finds that Congress did not intend for the burden of 
proof to be placed on covered jurisdictions to be weakened in 
the way that the Supreme Court rulings in these cases 
permit.\166\ The decisions have left covered jurisdictions with 
discretion under Section 5 to enact and enforce voting changes 
that may harm minority voters and limit their ability to elect 
their preferred candidates of choice in a manner never intended 
by Congress. To ensure that Section 5 remains the vital, 
prophylactic tool that Congress intends, certain amendments are 
necessary to: (1) restore the original purpose to Section 5 
with respect to intentionally discriminatory voting changes; 
and (2) clarify the types of conduct that Section 5 was 
intended to prevent, including those techniques that diminish 
the ability of the minority group to elect their preferred 
candidates of choice.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \166\ See 528 U.S. 320 (2000) and 539 U.S. 462 (2003), 
respectively.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Section 5
    Section 5 has been and continues to be one of the VRA's 
most effective tools. Its strength lies, in part, in its 
burden-shifting remedy that requires covered jurisdictions to 
prove to the Federal Government or United States District Court 
for the District of Columbia that a voting change ``does not 
have the purpose and will not have the effect of denying or 
abridging the right to vote'' \167\ before such voting change 
can be enforced. The two-pronged shield afforded by Section 5 
has enabled the Federal Government and court to stay one step 
ahead of covered jurisdictions that have a documented history 
of denying minorities the protections guaranteed by the 
Constitution. By requiring covered jurisdictions to establish 
that neither a discriminatory purpose nor effect exists with 
respect to a proposed voting change, Section 5 has prevented 
those voting changes that have a measurable negative impact on 
minorities, as well as voting changes that are enacted with a 
racial animus, from being enforced.\168\ The impact of Section 
5's two-pronged requirement is reflected in the gains 
minorities have achieved and sustained, despite the efforts of 
State and local Officials determined to see otherwise.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \167\ See Section 5.
    \168\ By striking ``does not have the purpose and will not have the 
effect'' and inserting in its place, ``neither has the purpose nor will 
have the effect,'' Section 5 of H.R. 9 makes clear that both prongs 
must be satisfied before a voting change may be precleared.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Indeed, by reauthorizing Section 5 unamended on three 
separate occasions, Congress recognized the need to preserve 
the burdens of proof placed on covered jurisdictions. For 
example, the Committee, in 1970, was ``convinced that Section 5 
procedures are an integral part of the rights afforded by the 
1965 Act'' and that ``[f]ailure to continue this provision of 
the Act would jettison a vital element of the enforcement 
machinery. It would reverse the burden of proof and restore 
time consuming litigation as the principal means of assuring 
the equal right to vote.'' \169\ In 1975, Congress reiterated 
that Section 5 was needed to ensure that States do not undo or 
defeat the rights recently won,'' \170\ and that rights were 
not ``destroyed through new procedures and techniques.'' \171\ 
Congress similarly extended Section 5 for 25 years in 1982. The 
Committee finds that the need for the protections of Section 5 
in the present covered jurisdictions continues today.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \169\ See H.R. Rep. No. 91-397 (1970).
    \170\ See Id.
    \171\ See S. Rep. No. 94-295 (1975).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Discriminatory Purpose
    In 2000, the Supreme Court severely limited the reach of 
Section 5's ``purpose'' requirement, announcing that ``Section 
5 prevents nothing but backsliding,'' such that a jurisdiction 
must prove only that its purpose in enacting a voting change is 
not retrogressive.\172\ Determining that a redistricting plan 
enacted with a discriminatory but non-retrogressive purpose can 
be precleared under Section 5, the Court held that to find 
otherwise would ``exacerbate the `substantial' federalism costs 
that the preclearance procedure already exacts, perhaps to the 
extent of raising concerns about Section 5's 
constitutionality.'' \173\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \172\ See Reno v. Bossier Parish, 528 U.S. 320 (2000).
    \173\ Id. at 336 (citing Lopez v. Monterey County, 525 U.S. 266, 
282 (1999)).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    To be sure, Congress intended Section 5 to impinge on 
traditional State functions in certain States and 
jurisdictions, for a reason. Some of the States and 
jurisdictions covered by the temporary provisions of the VRA 
have a long and documented history of discriminating against 
certain citizens and preventing their exercise of the most 
fundamental right in our system of government. Indeed, in 
upholding the extraordinary remedy contained in Section 5, the 
Supreme Court in South Carolina v. Katzenbach recognized the 
long history of discrimination in certain areas of the country 
and reiterated its position that ``When a State exercises power 
wholly within the domain of a State interest, it is insulated 
from Federal review but such insulation is not carried over 
when State power is used as an instrument for circumventing a 
Federally protected right.'' \174\ In remedying this documented 
problem, Congress sought to make Section 5's hurdles 
significant, requiring of covered jurisdictions that any and 
all voting changes discriminated neither in purpose nor effect 
if they are to be precleared.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \174\ See 383 U.S. at 325, citing (Gomillion v. Lightfoot, 364 U.S. 
at 347).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Through the ``purpose'' requirement, Congress sought to 
prevent covered jurisdictions from enacting and enforcing 
voting changes made with a clear racial animus, regardless of 
the measurable impact of such discriminatory changes. The 
Committee heard testimony revealing that for more than 30 
years, the purpose standard has been unbroken, barring those 
plans that were motivated by a discriminatory intent.\175\ The 
effectiveness of the ``discriminatory'' purpose requirement in 
barring discriminatory voting changes is reflected in the 83 
objections that were interposed during the 1980's and in the 
151 objections interposed in the 1990's solely on the basis of 
discriminatory purpose. Such objections accounted for 25 
percent and 43 percent of all objections interposed, 
respectively. \176\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \175\ See Oversight Hearing on the Voting Rights Act: Section 5--
Preclearance Standards, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Committee on 
the Judiciary, 109th Cong. 1 (November 1, 2005). See also, City of 
Richmond v. United States, 422 U.S. 358 (1975); Texas v. United States, 
802 F. Supp.481 (1992) (stating ``in order to grant preclearance . . . 
[the] court must make two findings: plan must not be retrogressive in 
terms of minority voting rights when compared to a plan that would be 
in effect were plan in question not approved, and discriminatory 
purpose may not be a motivating factor in selection of plan''); State 
of Mississippi v. United States, 490 F. Supp. 569 (1979) (stating ``For 
a state to meet its burden of proof in an action for declaratory relief 
under the Voting Rights Act, it must demonstrate that a racially 
discriminatory purpose was not among the factors that motivated it in 
devising its reapportionment plan.'').
    \176\ See McCrary, Seaman, Valelly, ``The End of Preclearance As We 
Knew It: How the Supreme Court Transformed Section 5 of the Voting 
Rights Act (Feb. 2006) at 37-38.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Had the Bossier II standard been in effect in 1982, the 
District of Columbia court would have been required to preclear 
Georgia's congressional redistricting plan, which was found by 
the court to be the product of purposeful discrimination. In 
that instance, the State had increased the African American 
population in the Fifth District over the benchmark plan, but 
kept it as a district with a majority of white registered 
voters. The remaining nine congressional districts were all 
solidly majority white. As Joe Mack Wilson, the chief architect 
of redistricting in the house told his colleagues on numerous 
occasions, ``I don't want to draw nigger districts.'' (Busbee 
v. Smith, 549 F.Supp. 495, 501 (D.D.C. 1982)). Since the 
redrawn Fifth District did not make African American voters 
worse off than they had been under the preexisting plan, and 
even though it was the product of intentional discrimination, 
the purpose was not technically retrogressive and so, under 
Bossier II, the plan would have been unobjectionable. Such a 
result is inconsistent with the clear purposes of the Voting 
Rights Act.
    Since Bossier II, the Committee finds that less than 1 
percent of the objections that have been interposed have been 
on the basis of the purpose prong alone, supporting the 
perception that only an ``incompetent retrogressor'' can be 
caught and denied preclearance under Section 5.\177\ Moreover, 
the Committee heard testimony that if the Bossier II standard 
is left unaddressed ``all of the places where [we] did not have 
Black representation where the number of seats, members on the 
commission or county school board or city council were 
increased, we would stand to lose representation, all of those 
governing bodies, if the Bossier II standard is applied.'' 
\178\ Similar testimony was submitted to the Committee 
emphasizing the impact that the Bossier II standard would have 
had on voting changes precleared prior to the Bossier decision 
(had the decision been in place), particularly on the creation 
of districts currently held by African American elected 
officials.\179\ Outcomes such as these were not contemplated by 
Congress when enacting and reauthorizing Section 5. Section 5 
was intended to foster and protect minority participation in 
the electoral process, particularly to facilitate the ability 
of minority groups to elect their preferred candidates of 
choice. Voting changes that ``purposefully'' keep minority 
groups ``in their place'' have no role in our electoral process 
and are precisely the types of changes Section 5 is intended to 
bar. To allow otherwise would be contrary to the protections 
afforded by the 14th and 15th amendment and the VRA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \177\ See Oversight Hearing on the Voting Rights Act: Section 5--
Preclearance Standards, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Committee on 
the Judiciary, 109th Cong. 1 (November 1, 2005).
    \178\ Id.
    \179\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Thus, by clarifying that any voting change motivated by any 
discriminatory purpose is prohibited under Section 5, the 
Committee seeks to ensure that the ``purpose'' prong remains a 
vital element to ensuring that Section 5 remains effective. In 
amending the purpose prong to bar ``any discriminatory 
purpose,'' the Committee is aware of concerns by some that such 
a prohibition is ``standardless'' and unadministerable.\180\ 
However, the Committee finds these concern to be unfounded. 
H.R. 9 is intended to restore the ``discriminatory purpose'' 
standard that was in place and administered until 2000. 
Moreover, the Committee concludes that the factors set out in 
Village of Arlington Heights et al. v. Metropolitan Housing 
Development Corporation et. al. provide an adequate framework 
for determining whether voting changes submitted for 
preclearance were motivated by a discriminatory purpose, 
including determining whether a disproportionate impact exists; 
examining the historical background of the challenged decision; 
looking at the specific antecedent events; determining whether 
such change departs from the normal procedures; and examining 
contemporary statements of the decision-maker, if any.\181\ In 
weighing each of these factors, the Committee believes that a 
proper and fair determination may be made as to whether a 
voting change was motivated by a discriminatory intent.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \180\ Id.
    \181\ See 429 U.S. 252 (1976).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Retrogressive Effect--The Ability to Elect
    In 2003, the Supreme Court, in the case of Georgia v. 
Ashcroft, construed Section 5 to narrow its reach, 
significantly restricting the scope of the ``effect'' prong and 
weakening Section 5's protection of minority groups from voting 
changes that diminish their ability to elect their preferred 
candidates of choice.
    In a 5-4 decision, the Georgia Court held that ``any 
assessment of the retrogression of a minority group's effective 
exercise of the electoral franchise depends on an examination 
of all the relevant circumstances, such as the ability to elect 
candidates of choice, the extent of the minority groups' 
opportunity to participate in the political process, and the 
feasibility of creating a non-retrogressive plan.'' \182\ In 
particular, the majority found that ``In assessing the totality 
of the circumstances, a court should not focus solely on the 
comparative ability of a minority group to elect a candidate of 
its choice. While this factor is an important one in the 
Section 5 retrogression inquiry, it cannot be dispositive.'' 
\183\ Indeed, the Court deemed other factors, such as whether 
minority voters could influence an elected representative (to 
the extent that a representative would be willing to take the 
minority interest into account) relevant to the retrogression 
analysis. The Court further held that--the State's choice 
ultimately may rest on a political choice of whether 
substantive or descriptive representation is preferable.'' 
\184\ Under its ``new'' analysis, the Supreme Court would allow 
the minority community's own choice of preferred candidates to 
be trumped by political deals struck by State legislators 
purporting to give ``influence'' to the minority community 
while removing that community's ability to elect candidates.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \182\ See Georgia v. Ashcroft, 539 U.S. 461, 479 (2003).
    \183\ Id. at 480 (emphasis added). This vague and open-ended 
``totality of the circumstances'' test opened the door to allow all 
manner of raw political considerations to trump the minority's true and 
genuine choice of candidates. As one commentator has pointed out, ``the 
majority [in Georgia v. Ashcroft] went further than the principle 
required to resolve Georgia itself and embraced a more expansive, still 
ill-defined conception of other modes of `political influence' that 
might be attributed to minority voters. These more nebulous modes of 
influence might also substitute, the Court held, for safe minority-
controlled election districts. The dissent was right to raise 
questions, both in principle and in practice, about whether this 
further flexibility in the VRA is appropriate.'' Richard H. Pildes, 
``The Constitutionalization of Democratic Politics,'' 118 Harv. L. Rev. 
28, 95 (2004). The dissent in Georgia v. Ashcroft case correctly 
pointed out that a ``totality of the circumstances'' under Section 5 is 
hopelessly unadministrable by the Department of Justice because such a 
concept does not retain ``the anchoring reference to electing a 
candidate of choice.'' Georgia v. Ashcroft, 539 U.S. 461, 493 (Souter, 
J., dissenting).
    \184\ Id. at 483.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Permitting these trade-offs is inconsistent with the 
original and current purpose of Section 5. The majority opinion 
in Georgia turns Section 5 on its head. The provision was and 
continues to be an extraordinary remedy to address a long and 
continued history of discrimination in certain States and 
jurisdictions. Its purpose is to require the scrutinizing of 
changes to voting procedures made by jurisdictions to ensure 
that minority voters are not discriminated against and that 
gains made by minority voters over the course of decades are 
not eroded. The preclearance provisions in Section 5 were and 
are intended to put the burden of proof on covered 
jurisdictions to demonstrate they are not enacting voting 
changes that diminish the ability of minorities to elect their 
preferred candidates of choice.\185\ Directly contrary to that 
proposition, Georgia v. Ashcroft appears to hold that courts 
should defer to the political decisions of States rather than 
the genuine choice of minority voters regarding who is or is 
not their candidate of choice.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \185\ See H.R. Rep. No. 94-196 (1975) and Beer v. United States, 
425 U.S. 130 (1976).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Over the last 30 years, Section 5's ``effect'' prong has 
served to protect the minority communities' ability to elect 
candidates of choice in covered jurisdictions. In particular, 
the Committee heard testimony describing the ``judicial 
development of the retrogression standard'' \186\ and the 
importance of the standard in protecting minority voters and 
their ability to elect candidates of their choice. Since the 
Supreme Court's decision in Beer v. United States,\187\ it was 
accepted that if ``the ability of minority group's ability to 
elect candidates of choice to office is diminished, Section 5 
requires the denial of preclearance.'' \188\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \186\ See Oversight Hearing on the Voting Rights Act: The Judicial 
Evolution of the Retrogression Standard, Subcommittee on the 
Constitution, Committee on the Judiciary, 109th Cong. 1 (November 9, 
2005).
    \187\ 425 U.S. 130 (1976).
    \188\ See Oversight Hearing on the Voting Rights Act: The Judicial 
Evolution of the Retrogression Standard, Subcommittee on the 
Constitution, Committee on the Judiciary, 109th Cong. 1 (November 9, 
2005).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Indeed, the benefits to the minority community under the 
Beer standard were significant over the last several decades. 
The Committee heard testimony describing the positive impact 
that minority-preferred representatives have had on minority 
communities by fully ``representing their interests.'' \189\ In 
particular, the Committee heard testimony confirming that 
minority-preferred elected officials fight for issues that are 
of importance to minority communities,\190\ and received 
evidence that ``[o]fficials elected because of the equal voting 
opportunities afforded minority citizens were more attuned to 
the needs of the minority communities.'' \191\ These ``tangible 
benefits were the direct result of the success of the Voting 
Rights Act.'' \192\ The Committee finds these results to be the 
types of successes that Congress sought to achieve through 
Section 5. These outcomes are achieved most often when a 
geographically compact minority group is able to control the 
outcome of an election, such that minority-preferred candidates 
are elected to office--on terms similar to other communities.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \189\ Id.
    \190\ See Frederickson and Vagins, Promises to Keep: The Impact of 
the Voting Rights Act in 2006, March 2006, at 25.
    \191\ Id.
    \192\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee believes that the gains made by minority 
communities in districts represented by elected officials of 
the minority communities' choice would be jeopardized if the 
retrogression standard, as altered by the Supreme Court in 
Georgia, remains uncorrected by Congress. Indeed, the Committee 
was persuaded by testimony revealing that the current 
interpretation ``permits a jurisdiction to choose among 
different theories of representation, introduces a substantial 
uncertainty for minority communities into a statute that was 
specifically intended to block persistent and shifting efforts 
to limit the effectiveness of minority political 
participation.'' \193\ Moreover, the Committee is concerned by 
testimony indicating that ``[m]inority influence is nothing 
more than a guise for diluting minority voting strength.'' 
\194\ Accordingly, leaving the Georgia standard in place would 
encourage States to spread minority voters under the guise of 
``influence'' and would effectively shut minority voters out of 
the political process. In essence, the Committee heard that 
Section 5, if left uncorrected, would now allow ``States to 
turn black and other minority voters into second class voters 
who can influence elections of white candidates, but who cannot 
elect their preferred candidates, including candidates of their 
own race.'' \195\ This is clearly not the outcome that Congress 
intended the Voting Rights Act and Section 5 to have on 
minority voters.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \193\ See Oversight Hearing on the Voting Rights Act: The Judicial 
Evolution of the Retrogression Standard, Subcommittee on the 
Constitution, Committee on the Judiciary, 109th Cong. 1 (November 9, 
2005).
    \194\ Id.
    \195\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Testimony presented to the Committee further suggested 
that, if left unaddressed, the Georgia standard threatens ``the 
Nation's commitment to representative democracy. . . .'' \196\ 
The Committee agrees. Section 5 was intended to prevent covered 
jurisdictions from making decisions that shut minority voters 
out of the political process. The Committee is convinced that 
Congress should not allow covered jurisdictions the discretion 
to make decisions on behalf of minority voters on the record it 
has before it. To leave the present retrogression standard 
enunciated in Georgia uncorrected would effectively diminish 
the significance of Section 5's remedy and would make Federal 
scrutiny a wasteful formality.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \196\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Thus, in amending Section 5 to add a new subsection (b), 
the Committee makes clear that in making preclearance 
determinations under Section 5, the comparative ``ability [of 
the minority community] to elect preferred candidates of 
choice'' is the relevant factor to be evaluated when 
determining whether a voting change has a retrogressive effect. 
This change is intended to restore Section 5 and the effect 
prong to the standard of analysis set forth by this Committee 
during its examination of Section 5 in 1975, such that a change 
should be denied preclearance under Section 5 if it diminishes 
the ability of minority groups to elect their candidates of 
choice.\197\ Such was the standard of analysis articulated by 
the Supreme Court in Beer v. United States, the retrogression 
standard of analysis on which the Court, the Department of 
Justice, and minority voters relied for 30 years, and the 
standard the Committee seeks to restore.\198\ Voting changes 
that leave a minority group less able to elect a preferred 
candidate of choice, either directly or when coalesced with 
other voters, cannot be precleared under Section 5. 
Furthermore, by adding the adjective ``preferred'' before 
``candidate,'' the Committee makes clear that the purpose of 
Section 5 is to protect the electoral power of minority groups 
to elect candidates that the minority community desires to be 
their elected representative.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \197\ See H.R. Rep. No. 94-196, at 60 (1975) (stating ``the 
standard can only be satisfied by determining . . . whether the ability 
of minority group's . . . to elect candidates of their choice to office 
is . . . diminished'').
    \198\ See Beer v United States, 425 U.S.130 (1976).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In preserving the ability of minority groups to determine 
who their elected representatives should be, the Committee 
makes clear that decisions or influence by States or partisan 
legislatures as to whom candidates of the minority community 
``should be'' have no place in the comparative analysis. The 
comparative analysis under Section 5 is intended to be 
specifically focused on whether the electoral power of the 
minority community is more, less, or just as able to elect a 
preferred candidate of choice after a voting change as before.
    In adding subsection (d), the Committee makes clear that 
Congress explicitly rejects all that logically follows from 
Justice O'Connor's statement that ``In assessing the totality 
of the circumstances, a court should not focus solely on the 
comparative ability of a minority group to elect a candidate of 
its choice. While this factor is an important one in the 
Section 5 retrogression inquiry, it cannot be dispositive.'' 
\199\ The language in subsection (d) makes clear that it is the 
intent of Congress that the relevant analysis in determining 
whether a voting change violates subsection (b) is a comparison 
between the minority community's ability to elect their 
genuinely preferred candidate of choice before and after a 
voting change, consistent with the standard established by the 
Beer Court and the precedent that followed. To be clear, in 
adding Subsections (b) and (d), the Committee intends only to 
clarify its intent with regard to Section 5 and does not intend 
to disturb Section 2 or the settled jurisprudence established 
by the Supreme Court in Thornburg v. G. Jingles, \200\ Growe v. 
Emison,\201\ and Voinovich v. Quilter.\202\ Sections 2 and 5 
serve two different purposes under the VRA. The Committee 
change to Section 5 is intended to ensure that Section 5 
remains effective in its purpose such that Sections 2 and 5 can 
continue to work together to protect minority voters.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \199\ Id. at 480 (emphasis added).
    \200\ See 478 U.S. 30 (1986).
    \201\ See 507 U.S. 25 (1993).
    \202\ See 507 U.S. 146 (1993).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                               APPENDICES


                                Hearings

    The House Committee on the Judiciary's Subcommittee on the 
Constitution held 1 day of hearings on H.R. 9 on May 4, 2006. 
Testimony was received from the following witnesses: J. Gerald 
Hebert, Former Acting Chief, Civil Rights Division, Department 
of Justice; Roger Clegg, President and General Counsel, Center 
for Equal Opportunity; Debo Adegbile, Associate Director, NAACP 
Legal Defense and Education Fund; Rena Comisa, Principal Deputy 
Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, Department 
of Justice; The Honorable Chris Norby, Supervisor, Fourth 
District, Orange County Board of Supervisor; Karen Narasaki, 
President and Executive Director, Asian American Justice 
Center; and Dr. James Thomas Tucker, Voting Rights Consultant, 
NALEO Educational Fund and Adjunct Professor, Barrett Honors 
College, Arizona State University, with additional material 
submitted by individuals and organizations.

                        Committee Consideration

    On May 10, 2006, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered favorably reported the bill H.R. 9 with an amendment by 
a recorded vote of 33 to 1, a quorum being present.

                         Vote of the Committee

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of Rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee notes that the 
following rollcall votes occurred during the Committee's 
consideration of H.R. 9.
    1. An amendment was offered by Mr. King that would have 
struck the provisions of the bill that reauthorized Section 203 
of the Voting Rights Act for another 25 years. By a rollcall 
vote of 9 yeas to 26 nays, the amendment was defeated.

                                                   ROLLCALL NO. 1
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                       Ayes            Nays           Present
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Hyde........................................................                              X
Mr. Coble.......................................................              X
Mr. Smith (Texas)...............................................              X
Mr. Gallegly....................................................              X
Mr. Goodlatte...................................................
Mr. Chabot......................................................                              X
Mr. Lungren.....................................................                              X
Mr. Jenkins.....................................................              X
Mr. Cannon......................................................              X
Mr. Bachus......................................................
Mr. Inglis......................................................
Mr. Hostettler..................................................              X
Mr. Green.......................................................                              X
Mr. Keller......................................................                              X
Mr. Issa........................................................                              X
Mr. Flake.......................................................                              X
Mr. Pence.......................................................                              X
Mr. Forbes......................................................                              X
Mr. King........................................................              X
Mr. Feeney......................................................                              X
Mr. Franks......................................................              X
Mr. Gohmert.....................................................              X
Mr. Conyers.....................................................                              X
Mr. Berman......................................................                              X
Mr. Boucher.....................................................
Mr. Nadler......................................................                              X
Mr. Scott.......................................................                              X
Mr. Watt........................................................                              X
Ms. Lofgren.....................................................                              X
Ms. Jackson Lee.................................................                              X
Ms. Waters......................................................                              X
Mr. Meehan......................................................
Mr. Delahunt....................................................                              X
Mr. Wexler......................................................                              X
Mr. Weiner......................................................                              X
Mr. Schiff......................................................                              X
Ms. Sanchez.....................................................                              X
Mr. Van Hollen..................................................                              X
Ms. Wasserman Schultz...........................................                              X
Mr. Sensenbrenner, Chairman.....................................                              X
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................................              9              26
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    2. An amendment was offered by Mr. King that would have 
limited to 6 years the provisions of the bill that reauthorized 
Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act for 25 years. The 
amendment also would have precluded the use American Community 
Survey data in 5-year increments. By a rollcall vote of 10 yeas 
to 24 nays, the amendment was defeated.

                                                   ROLLCALL NO. 2
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                       Ayes            Nays           Present
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Hyde........................................................
Mr. Coble.......................................................              X
Mr. Smith (Texas)...............................................              X
Mr. Gallegly....................................................              X
Mr. Goodlatte...................................................              X
Mr. Chabot......................................................                              X
Mr. Lungren.....................................................              X
Mr. Jenkins.....................................................              X
Mr. Cannon......................................................                              X
Mr. Bachus......................................................
Mr. Inglis......................................................              X
Mr. Hostettler..................................................              X
Mr. Green.......................................................                              X
Mr. Keller......................................................                              X
Mr. Issa........................................................                              X
Mr. Flake.......................................................
Mr. Pence.......................................................                              X
Mr. Forbes......................................................                              X
Mr. King........................................................              X
Mr. Feeney......................................................                              X
Mr. Franks......................................................              X
Mr. Gohmert.....................................................
Mr. Conyers.....................................................                              X
Mr. Berman......................................................                              X
Mr. Boucher.....................................................                              X
Mr. Nadler......................................................                              X
Mr. Scott.......................................................                              X
Mr. Watt........................................................                              X
Ms. Lofgren.....................................................
Ms. Jackson Lee.................................................                              X
Ms. Waters......................................................                              X
Mr. Meehan......................................................
Mr. Delahunt....................................................                              X
Mr. Wexler......................................................                              X
Mr. Weiner......................................................                              X
Mr. Schiff......................................................                              X
Ms. Sanchez.....................................................                              X
Mr. Van Hollen..................................................                              X
Ms. Wasserman Schultz...........................................                              X
Mr. Sensenbrenner, Chairman.....................................                              X
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................................             10              24
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    3. Final Passage. The motion to report favorably the bill 
H.R. 9, as amended, was agreed to by a rollcall vote of 33 yeas 
to 1 nays.

                                                   ROLLCALL NO. 3
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                       Ayes            Nays           Present
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Hyde........................................................
Mr. Coble.......................................................              X
Mr. Smith (Texas)...............................................              X
Mr. Gallegly....................................................              X
Mr. Goodlatte...................................................              X
Mr. Chabot......................................................              X
Mr. Lungren.....................................................              X
Mr. Jenkins.....................................................              X
Mr. Cannon......................................................              X
Mr. Bachus......................................................
Mr. Inglis......................................................              X
Mr. Hostettler..................................................              X
Mr. Green.......................................................              X
Mr. Keller......................................................              X
Mr. Issa........................................................              X
Mr. Flake.......................................................
Mr. Pence.......................................................              X
Mr. Forbes......................................................              X
Mr. King........................................................                              X
Mr. Feeney......................................................              X
Mr. Franks......................................................              X
Mr. Gohmert.....................................................
Mr. Conyers.....................................................              X
Mr. Berman......................................................              X
Mr. Boucher.....................................................              X
Mr. Nadler......................................................              X
Mr. Scott.......................................................              X
Mr. Watt........................................................              X
Ms. Lofgren.....................................................
Ms. Jackson Lee.................................................              X
Ms. Waters......................................................              X
Mr. Meehan......................................................
Mr. Delahunt....................................................              X
Mr. Wexler......................................................              X
Mr. Weiner......................................................              X
Mr. Schiff......................................................              X
Ms. Sanchez.....................................................              X
Mr. Van Hollen..................................................              X
Ms. Wasserman Schultz...........................................              X
Mr. Sensenbrenner, Chairman.....................................              X
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................................             33               1
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of Rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee reports that the 
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of Rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of Rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives is inapplicable because this legislation does 
not provide new budgetary authority or increased tax 
expenditures.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(3) of Rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee sets forth, with 
respect to the bill, H.R. 9, the following estimate and 
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                      Washington, DC, May 17, 2006.
Hon. F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., Chairman,
Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 9, the ``Fannie 
Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act 
Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006.''
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contacts is Matthew 
Pickford, who can be reached at 226-2860.
            Sincerely,
                                          Donald B. Marron,
                                           Acting Director.

Enclosure

cc:
        Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
        Ranking Member
H.R. 9--Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting 
        Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006.

                                SUMMARY

    H.R. 9 would reauthorize and amend the Voting Rights Act of 
1965. Major provisions of the legislation would extend certain 
expiring provisions of the act for 25 years, expand the use of 
federal observers at polling sites, and authorize the use of 
the American Community Survey to identify areas that may need 
bilingual voting assistance. In addition, H.R. 9 would require 
the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to report to the 
Congress on the implementation of a provision of the Voting 
Rights Act regarding the requirement for election materials in 
both English and an alternative language.
    CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 9 would cost $1 
million in fiscal year 2007 and $15 million over the 2007-2011 
period, subject to the availability of appropriated funds. 
Enacting the bill would have no impact on direct spending or 
revenues.
    Section 4 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
excludes from the application of the act any legislative 
provisions that enforce constitutional rights of individuals. 
CBO has determined that H.R. 9 would fall within that exclusion 
because it would protect the voting rights of minorities and 
those with limited proficiency in English. Therefore, CBO has 
not reviewed the bill for mandates.

                ESTIMATED COST TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

    The estimated budgetary impact of H.R. 9 is shown in the 
following table. The costs of this legislation fall within 
budget function 800 (general government).

                 By Fiscal Year, in Millions of Dollars
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        2007   2008   2009   2010   2011
------------------------------------------------------------------------
SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
OPM Spending Under Current Law for
 Voting Rights Program
  Estimated Authorization Level            2      0      0      0      0
  Estimated Outlays                        2      0      0      0      0

Proposed Changes
  Estimated Authorization Level            1      4      3      3      3
  Estimated Outlays                        1      4      3      3      3

OPM Spending Under H.R. 9 for Voting
 Rights Program
  Estimated Authorization Level            3      4      3      3      3
  Estimated Outlays                        3      4      3      3      3
------------------------------------------------------------------------

                           BASIS OF ESTIMATE

    For this estimate, CBO assumes that H.R. 9 will be enacted 
near the end of fiscal year 2006, that the necessary amounts 
will be appropriated over the 2007-2011 period, and that 
spending will follow historical spending patterns for the 
Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
    The legislation would extend for 25 years certain expiring 
provisions of the Voting Rights Act. Under current law, the 
Department of Justice (DOJ) certifies the appointment of 
federal observers to work at polling sites when it has received 
20 or more written complaints from residents regarding voting 
rights violations. OPM, through its Voting Rights Program, 
works closely with DOJ to assign voting rights observers to 
locations designated by the department. OPM currently has about 
1,000 intermittent employees who serve as neutral monitors at 
particular polling sites on election days. Since 1966, OPM has 
deployed 26,000 observers to 22 States.
    The legislation would amend current law to authorize the 
Attorney General to assign federal observers without using the 
certification process to election sites if he or she has had a 
reasonable belief that violations of the 14th or 15th amendment 
have occurred or will occur at a polling site. Based on 
information from OPM and the current cost of operating the 
observer program, CBO estimates that the Voting Rights Program 
would spend about $4 million in general election years and 
about $3 million in other years.
    H.R. 9 also would require the GAO to report to the 
Congress, within one year, on the implementation of a section 
of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 regarding the provision of 
voting materials in alternative languages (in addition to 
materials in English). Based on similar reports, CBO estimates 
that preparing and distributing the report would cost less than 
$500,000.

              INTERGOVERNMENTAL AND PRIVATE-SECTOR IMPACT

    Section 4 of UMRA excludes from the application of the act 
any legislative provisions that enforce constitutional rights 
of individuals. CBO has determined that H.R. 9 would fall 
within that exclusion because it would protect the voting 
rights of minorities and those with limited proficiency in 
English. Therefore, CBO has not reviewed the bill for mandates.

                         ESTIMATE PREPARED BY:

Federal Costs: Matthew Pickford (226-2860)
Impact on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Sarah Puro 
    (225-3220)
Impact on the Private-Sector: Craig Cammarata (226-2940)

                         ESTIMATE APPROVED BY:

Peter H. Fontaine
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    The Committee states that pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of 
Rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, H.R. 9 
will: (1) extend for another 25 years Section 4(a)(8) and 
Section 203(b)(1), the temporary provisions of the Voting 
Rights Act of 1965 currently set to expire on August 6, 2007; 
and (2) amend Section 3(a), Section (4), Section 5, Section 6, 
Section 7, Section 8, Section 9, Section 14, and Section 203 to 
update certain provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to 
reflect the current voting environment and to restore the 
original intent of Congress in enacting the temporary 
provisions of the Act.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Pursuant to clause 3(d)(1) of Rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds the authority for 
this legislation under amend. XIV, Sec. 5 and amend. XV, 
Sec. 2.

               Section-by-Section Analysis and Discussion

    The following discussion describes the bill as reported by 
the Committee.
Sec. 1. Short Title.
    This section provides that the Act may be cited as the 
``Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting 
Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006'' (the 
``VRARA'').
Sec. 2. Congressional Purpose and Findings.
    This section sets out the Congressional findings and 
purposes supporting the VRARA.
Sec. 3. Changes Relating to Use of Examiners and Observers.
    This section contains five subsections.

         LSec. 3(a). Use of Observers. Current Section 
        8 of the VRA (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1973f) authorizes the 
        Attorney General to request that the Office of 
        Personnel Management (OPM) assign Federal observers to 
        jurisdictions where examiners are located to observe 
        whether citizens who are eligible to vote are able to 
        exercise the right to vote. Federal observers are the 
        only Federal officials who are authorized to enter 
        polls and places where votes are tabulated. (Under 
        current law, observers can only be assigned after a 
        jurisdiction has been certified for Federal examiner 
        coverage.) Section 3(a) of the VRARA authorizes the 
        Attorney General or court under Section 3(a) of the VRA 
        to directly assign Federal observers upon a finding 
        that there is a reasonable belief that a violation of 
        the 14th or 15th amendment has occurred or will occur, 
        without having to first certify the use of Federal 
        examiners. (Federal examiners would be eliminated under 
        Section 3(c) of the VRARA because examiners have not 
        been appointed to jurisdictions certified for coverage 
        in some twenty years.)

         LSec. 3(b). Modification of Section 13. 
        Section 13 of the VRA (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1973k) enables 
        those covered jurisdictions certified for Federal 
        examiners, and subject to the listing procedures set 
        forth in Section 7 of the VRA, the opportunity to apply 
        to the Attorney General or to the Federal court, if 
        applicable, to terminate the certification of such 
        examiners. Section 3(b) of the VRARA would eliminate 
        these provisions as applied to examiners (which would 
        be eliminated under Section 3(c) of the VRARA) and 
        simply transfer those termination procedures to allow 
        for the termination of observers.

         LSec. 3(c). Repeal of Sections Relating to 
        Examiners. This section would strike Sections 6, 7, and 
        9 of the VRA. Section 6 of the VRA (42 U.S.C. 1973d) 
        authorizes the court or the Attorney General to direct 
        the OPM to send Federal examiners either to covered 
        jurisdictions, or where the court believes it necessary 
        to protect citizens' 14th and 15th amendment rights. 
        Section 3(c) of the VRARA would strike the authority of 
        the Attorney General, or the court, to appoint Federal 
        examiners.\203\ Section 7 of the VRA (42 U.S.C. 
        Sec. 1973e) sets forth the process that Federal 
        examiners are required to follow when listing those 
        individuals who meet the voter qualifications set forth 
        by a State. Section 3(c) of the VRARA would eliminate 
        the listing procedures in accordance with the 
        elimination of Federal examiners. Section 9 of the VRA 
        (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1973g) sets forth the process for 
        individuals to challenge the eligibility of a voter 
        listed by a Federal examiner. Section 3(c) of the VRARA 
        would eliminate this process along with the rest of the 
        Federal examiner provisions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \203\ Testimony received by the Subcommittee on the Constitution 
revealed that Federal statutes, such as the National Voter Registration 
Act of 1993 (NVRA) and the Help American Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), have 
been integral in increasing voter registration applications and voter 
turnout, and such statutes are now the primary means by which the 
integrity of voting rolls is secured at the Federal level. (The NVRA 
requires States to make voter registration opportunities available to 
individuals at all agencies that provide public assistance, including 
driver's license offices, public benefit offices, and social service 
agencies. Under the NVRA, states are required to update their 
registration list to reflect recently deceased voters or voters who 
have moved. In addition, the NVRA prohibits States from removing 
registered voters from a registration list solely because they have not 
voted in an election. HAVA requires states to update voting equipment, 
maintain a centrally located computerized registration list accessible 
by every election official, and make other changes related to voter 
registration. Both statutes are enforced by the Department of Justice.)

         LSec.3(d). Substitution of References to 
        ``Observers'' for References to ``Examiners.'' This 
        section makes technical changes to several sections of 
        the VRA that are necessary to replace the role of 
        Federal examiners with those of Federal observers. 
        Section 3(a) of the VRA (42 U.S.C. 1973a) currently 
        authorizes Federal courts, in proceedings under any 
        statutes enforcing the 14th and 15th amendments' voting 
        guarantees, to use Federal election examiners and 
        observers to monitor the actions of covered 
        jurisdictions. Section 3(d) of the VRARA amends Section 
        3(a) of the VRA by replacing the court's authority to 
        assign Federal examiners with the authority to assign 
        Federal observers only.\204\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \204\ Again, this change is in response to testimony received by 
the Subcommittee on the Constitution showing that Federal examiners 
have not been used to list individuals for voting in the last twenty 
years. Federal observers, on the other hand, have been the most 
frequently used Federal oversight tools in the last 20 years.

         LSec. 3(e). Conforming Changes Relating to 
        Section References. This section makes technical 
        changes to section references in the VRA to reflect the 
        changes made by the VRARA.
Sec. 4. Reconsideration of Section 4 by Congress.
    This section makes technical changes to the VRA to reflect 
the title of the VRARA, namely the ``Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa 
Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization 
and Amendments Act of 2006.'' Section 4 of the VRA (42 U.S.C. 
Sec. 1973b) identifies by formula those jurisdictions subject 
to the Federal oversight provisions contained in Sections 5 
through 8 of the VRA and sets out the requirements covered 
jurisdictions must meet to ``bailout'' (that is, to be removed 
from coverage under the Voting Rights Act). Section 4 of the 
VRARA would extend these expiring provisions for an additional 
25 years. In addition, and in accordance with the proposed 
replacement of Federal examiners with Federal observers in 
Section 3(c) of VRARA, the changes made by Section 4 of the 
VRARA to Section 4 of the VRA would specify that the Attorney 
General's decision to certify Federal observers in a covered 
jurisdiction is not reviewable (as is currently the law 
regarding the Attorney General's determination to certify 
Federal examiners under the VRA).
Sec. 5. Criteria for Declaratory Judgment.
    Section 5 of the VRA (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1973c) requires 
covered jurisdictions to preclear all voting changes with 
either the Department of Justice or the U.S. District Court for 
the District of Columbia. (The need to renew Section 5 is 
evidenced in part by the fact that Section 5 was used more 
often between 1982 and 2005 than it was between 1965 and 1982, 
resulting in the retraction of more voting rules changes that 
would have adversely affected minorities.) The expiring 
provisions of the Voting Rights Act only apply to jurisdictions 
that have the most extensive histories of discrimination and 
segregation. And even within those covered jurisdictions, the 
expiring provisions of the Voting Rights Act only require that 
voting rule changes first be ``precleared'' by the Justice 
Department or the D.C. Federal court before they go into 
effect. The Supreme Court has held that Congress has the clear 
authority to enact provisions that simply prevent certain 
states from ``backsliding'' in their protection of minority 
voting rights.\205\ (The expiring provisions of the Voting 
Rights Act allow any covered jurisdiction to remove itself from 
coverage if it can demonstrate a ``clean record'' \206\ on 
discrimination over the previous 10 years. In fact, 11 counties 
in Virginia have successfully removed themselves from coverage 
under the Voting Rights Act.)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \205\ The Supreme Court has stated that ``The language and purpose 
of the Fifteenth Amendment [which prohibits racial discrimination in 
voting], the prior decisions construing its several provisions, and the 
general doctrines of constitutional interpretation, all point to one 
fundamental principle. As against the reserved powers of the States, 
Congress may use any rational means to effectuate the constitutional 
prohibition of racial discrimination in voting . . . Sec. 2 of the 
Fifteenth Amendment expressly declares that `Congress shall have power 
to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.' By adding this 
authorization, the Framers indicated that Congress was to be chiefly 
responsible for implementing the rights created in Sec. 1 . . . 
Accordingly, in addition to the courts, Congress has full remedial 
powers to effectuate the constitutional prohibition against racial 
discrimination in voting.'' South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U.S. 301, 
325-27 (1966) (emphasis added). In City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 
507, 518 (1997) (emphasis added), the Court stated ``Legislation which 
deters or remedies constitutional violations can fall within the sweep 
of Congress' enforcement power even if in the process it prohibits 
conduct which is not itself unconstitutional and intrudes into 
legislative spheres of autonomy previously reserved to the States. For 
example, the Court upheld a suspension of literacy tests and similar 
voting requirements under Congress' parallel power to enforce the 
provisions of the Fifteenth Amendment as a measure to combat racial 
discrimination in voting despite the facial constitutionality of the 
tests . . .'' In City of Rome v. United States, the Court stated 
```Congress may, under the authority of Sec. 2 of the Fifteenth 
Amendment, prohibit state action that, though in itself not violative 
of Sec. 1, perpetuates the effects of past discrimination.'' City of 
Rome v. United States, 446 U.S. 156, 173, 176 (1980) (emphasis added).
    \206\ To be removed from coverage under Section 5, a jurisdiction 
need only show that it has not administered literacy tests within the 
preceding 10 years; has complied with all Federal pre-clearance 
requirements; has not been the subject of litigation or consent decrees 
relating to voting discrimination; and has taken steps to include 
minorities in the electoral process.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Two Supreme Court decisions (Reno v. Bossier Parish 
(``Bossier II'') and Georgia v. Ashcroft) have significantly 
narrowed Section 5's effectiveness. The changes Section 5 of 
the VRARA makes to Section 5 of the VRA will:

         Lmake clear that Congress rejects the Supreme 
        Court's holding in Reno v. Bossier Parish,\207\ by 
        making clear that, contrary to that decision, 
        ``retrogression'' \208\ is not the only violation of 
        voting rights the preclearance procedures protect 
        against, and that a voting rule change motivated by any 
        discriminatory purpose also cannot be precleared. The 
        VRARA does this by creating new subsections (b) and (c) 
        to Section 5 that state:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \207\ 528 U.S. 320 (2000).
    \208\ ``Retrogression'' means a process by which voting changes put 
the minority community in a worse position to elect a candidate of 
their choice compared to such minorities' position prior to the 
administration of a new voting provision.

              L(b) Any voting qualification or prerequisite to 
        voting, or standard, practice, or procedure with 
        respect to voting that has the purpose of or will have 
        the effect of diminishing the ability of any citizens 
        of the United States on account of race or color, or in 
        contravention of the guarantees set forth in section 
        4(f)(2), to elect their preferred candidates of choice 
        denies or abridges the right to vote within the meaning 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        of subsection (a) of this section.

              L(c) The term ``purpose'' in subsections (a) and 
        (b) of this section shall include any discriminatory 
        purpose.

         Lmake clear that Congress partly rejects the 
        Supreme Court's decision in Georgia v. Ashcroft. Before 
        the Supreme Court's decision in Georgia v. 
        Ashcroft,\209\ it was clear that the Voting Rights Act 
        served to protect the minority community's ability to 
        elect their preferred candidates of choice. However, 
        Justice O'Connor, writing for a 5-4 majority, held in 
        Georgia v. Ashcroft that ``In assessing the totality of 
        the circumstances, a court should not focus solely on 
        the comparative ability of a minority group to elect a 
        candidate of its choice.'' \210\ This vague and open-
        ended ``totality of the circumstances'' test opened the 
        door to allow all manner of undefined considerations to 
        trump the minority's choice of candidate, and the 
        dissent in the Georgia v. Ashcroft case correctly 
        pointed out that a ``totality of the circumstances'' 
        under Section 5 is hopelessly unadministerable by the 
        Department of Justice because such a concept does not 
        retain ``the anchoring reference to electing a 
        candidate of choice.'' \211\ VRARA restores the 
        standard articulated in Beer v. United States. To 
        restore the original meaning of Section 5 of the Voting 
        Rights Act, the VRARA makes clear, in a new subsection 
        (d), that:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \209\ Georgia v. Ashcroft, 539 U.S. 461 (2003).
    \210\ Georgia v. Ashcroft, 539 U.S. 461, 480 (2003) (emphasis 
added).
    \211\ Georgia v. Ashcroft, 539 U.S. 461, 493 (Souter, J., 
dissenting).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
              L(d) The purpose of subsection (b) of this 
        section is to protect the ability of such [minority] 
        citizens to elect their preferred candidates of choice.
Sec. 6. Expert Fees and Other Reasonable Costs of Litigation.
    Section 14 of the VRA (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1973l) currently 
authorizes prevailing parties (other than the United States) to 
recover attorney fees. Section 6 of the VRARA updates this 
provision by authorizing the prevailing party to also recover 
expert costs as part of the attorney fees, as is already 
provided for in the vast majority of civil rights legislation.
Sec. 7. Extension of Language Assistance Requirements.
    Section 7 of the VRARA extends Section 203 of the VRA's 
requirements (the bilingual election materials requirements) 
for a period of 25 years. Sections 203 and 4(f) of the VRA 
require that bilingual election assistance be given to language 
minority citizens in certain States and political subdivisions. 
Under Sections 203 and 4(f), covered jurisdictions are required 
to provide voting materials such as notices, forms, 
instructions, ballots, and other materials in the applicable 
covered language (Spanish, Asian-American, Native American, and 
Native Alaskan). Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act only 
requires that non-English voting materials be made available in 
jurisdictions (1) in which 5 percent of the voting age 
population consists of a single language, limited English 
proficient minority and in which there is a literacy rate below 
the national average; or (2) in which more than 10,000 citizens 
who meet those criteria reside. A jurisdiction can get out from 
under coverage under Section 203 if it shows the D.C. Federal 
court that the applicable language minority population's 
literacy rate is at the national average or above. Section 203 
protects citizens, not illegal immigrants. Citizens in the 
process of learning to read should not be denied assistance in 
voting, and such citizens should not be denied aid for lack of 
educational opportunities.
Sec. 8. Use of American Community Survey Census Data.
    Section 8 of the VRARA updates Section 203 of the VRA to 
reflect the fact that the long form census, which had been used 
in coverage determinations, will no longer be used by the 
Census Bureau after 2010. The American Community Survey has 
replaced the long form and will be administered by the Census 
Bureau annually. Determinations for coverage under Section 203 
will be made by the Director of the Census based upon 
information compiled by the ACS on a rolling 5-year average.
Section 9. Study and Report.
    Section 9 of the VRARA authorizes the Comptroller General 
to conduct a study on the implementation, effectiveness, and 
efficiency of Section 203, the bilingual language assistance 
provision. In conducting the study, the Comptroller General is 
required to identify alternatives to the current administrative 
process under Section 203. The study is to be completed within 
a year of the effective date of the VRARA.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of Rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italics, existing law in which no change 
is proposed is shown in roman):

                       VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 1965

TITLE I--VOTING RIGHTS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


      Sec. 3. (a) Whenever the Attorney General or an aggrieved 
person institutes a proceeding under any statute to enforce the 
voting guarantees of the fourteenth or fifteenth amendment in 
any State or political subdivision the court shall authorize 
the appointment of Federal [examiners] observers by the United 
States Civil Service Commission in accordance with section 6 to 
serve for such period of time and for such political 
subdivisions as the court shall determine is appropriate to 
enforce the voting guarantees of the fourteenth or fifteenth 
amendment (1) as part of any interlocutory order if the court 
determines that the appointment of such [examiners] observers 
is necessary to enforce such voting guarantees or (2) as part 
of any final judgment if the court finds that violations of the 
fourteenth or fifteenth amendment justifying equitable relief 
have occurred in such State or subdivision: That the court need 
not authorize the appointment of [examiners] observers if any 
incidents of denial or abridgement of the right to vote on 
account of race or color, or in contravention of the guarantees 
set forth in section 4(f)(2), (1) have been few in number and 
have been promptly and effectively corrected by State or local 
action, (2) the continuing effect of such incidents has been 
eliminated, and (3) there is no reasonable probability of their 
recurrence in the future.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

      Sec. 4. (a)(1) To assure that the right of citizens of 
the United States to vote is not denied or abridged on account 
of race or color, no citizen shall be denied the right to vote 
in any Federal, State, or local election because of his failure 
to comply with any test or device in any State with respect to 
which the determinations have been made under the first two 
sentences of subsection (b) or in any political subdivision of 
such State (as such subdivision existed on the date such 
determinations were made with respect to such State), though 
such determinations were not made with respect to such 
subdivision as a separate unit, or in any political subdivision 
with respect to which such determinations have been made as a 
separate unit, unless the United States District Court for the 
District of Columbia issues a declaratory judgment under this 
section. No citizen shall be denied the right to vote in any 
Federal, State, or local election because of his failure to 
comply with any test or device in any State with respect to 
which the determinations have been made under the third 
sentence of subsection (b) of this section or in any political 
subdivision of such State (as such subdivision existed on the 
date such determinations were made with respect to such State), 
though such determinations were not made with respect to such 
subdivision as a separate unit or in any political subdivision 
with respect to which such determinations have been made as a 
separate unit, unless the United States District Court for the 
District of Columbia issues a declaratory judgment under this 
section. A declaratory judgment under this section shall issue 
only if such court determines that during the ten years 
preceding the filing of the action, and during the pendency of 
such action--
            (A) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

            (C) no Federal examiners or observers under this 
        Act have been assigned to such State or political 
        subdivision;

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (7) The Congress shall reconsider the provisions of this 
section at the end of the fifteen-year period following the 
effective date of the amendments made by the [Voting Rights Act 
Amendments of 1982] Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta 
Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act 
of 2006.
    (8) The provisions of this section shall expire at the end 
of the twenty-five-year period following the effective date of 
the amendments made by the [Voting Rights Act Amendments of 
1982] Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King 
Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (b) The provisions of subsection (a) shall apply in any 
State or in any political subdivision of a State which (1) the 
Attorney General determines maintained on November 1, 1964, any 
test or device, and with respect to which (2) the Director of 
the Census determines that less than 50 per centum of the 
persons of voting age residing therein were registered on 
November 1, 1964, or that less than 50 per centum of such 
persons voted in the presidential election of November 1964. On 
and after August 6, 1970, in addition to any State or political 
subdivision of a State determined to be subject to subsection 
(a) pursuant to the previous sentence, the provisions of 
subsection (a) shall apply in any State or any political 
subdivision of a State which (i) the Attorney General 
determines maintained on November 1, 1968, any test or device, 
and with respect to which (ii) the Director of the Census 
determines that less than 50 per centum of the persons of 
voting age residing therein were registered on November 1, 
1968, or that less than 50 per centum of such persons voted in 
the presidential election of November 1968. On and after August 
6, 1975, in addition to any State or political subdivision of a 
State determined to be subject to subsection (a) pursuant to 
the previous two sentences, the provisions of subsection (a) 
shall apply in any State or any political subdivision of a 
State which (i) the Attorney General determines maintained on 
November 1, 1972, any test or device, and with respect to which 
(ii) the Director of the Census determines that less than 50 
per centum of the citizens of voting age were registered on 
November 1, 1972, or that less than 50 per centum of such 
persons voted in the Presidential election of November 1972.
       A determination or certification of the Attorney General 
or of the Director of the Census under this section or under 
[section 6] section 8 or section 13 shall not be reviewable in 
any court and shall be effective upon publication in the 
Federal Register.
      Sec. 5. (a) Whenever a State or political subdivision 
with respect to which the prohibitions set forth in section 
4(a) based upon determinations made under the first sentence of 
section 4(b) are in effect shall enact or seek to administer 
any voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or 
standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting 
different from that in force or effect on November 1, 1964, or 
whenever a State or political subdivision with respect to which 
the prohibitions set forth in section 4(a) based upon 
determinations made under the second sentence of section 4(b) 
are in effect shall enact or seek to administer any voting 
qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, 
or procedure with respect to voting different from that in 
force or effect on November 1, 1968, or whenever a State or 
political subdivision with respect to which the prohibitions 
set forth in section 4(a) based upon determinations made under 
the third sentence of section 4(b) are in effect shall enact or 
seek to administer any voting qualifications or prerequisite to 
voting, or standard, practice, or procedure with respect to 
voting different from that in force or effect on November 1, 
1972, such State or subdivision may institute an action in the 
United States District Court for the District of Columbia for a 
declaratory judgment that such qualification, prerequisite, 
standard, practice, or procedure [does not have the purpose and 
will not have the effect] neither has the purpose nor will have 
the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account 
of race or color, or in contravention of the guarantees set 
forth in section 4(f)(2), and unless and until the court enters 
such judgment no person shall be denied the right to vote for 
failure to comply with such qualification, prerequisite, 
standard, practice, or procedure: That such qualification, 
prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure may be enforced 
without such proceeding if the qualification, prerequisite, 
standard, practice, or procedure has been submitted by the 
chief legal officer or other appropriate official of such State 
or subdivision to the Attorney General and the Attorney General 
has not interposed an objection within sixty days after such 
submission, or upon good cause shown, to facilitate an 
expedited approval within sixty days after such submission, the 
Attorney General has affirmatively indicated that such 
objection will not be made. Neither an affirmative indication 
by the Attorney General that no objection will be made, nor the 
Attorney General's failure to object, nor a declaratory 
judgment entered under this section shall bar a subsequent 
action to enjoin enforcement of such qualification, 
prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure. In the event 
the Attorney General affirmatively indicates that no objection 
will be made within the sixty-day period following receipt of a 
submission, the Attorney General may reserve the right to 
reexamine the submission if additional information comes to his 
attention during the remainder of the sixty-day period which 
would otherwise require objection in accordance with this 
section. Any action under this section shall be heard and 
determined by a court of three judges in accordance with the 
provisions of section 2284 of title 28 of the United States 
Code and any appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court.
    (b) Any voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or 
standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting that 
has the purpose of or will have the effect of diminishing the 
ability of any citizens of the United States on account of race 
or color, or in contravention of the guarantees set forth in 
section 4(f)(2), to elect their preferred candidates of choice 
denies or abridges the right to vote within the meaning of 
subsection (a) of this section.
    (c) The term ``purpose'' in subsections (a) and (b) of this 
section shall include any discriminatory purpose.
    (d) The purpose of subsection (b) of this section is to 
protect the ability of such citizens to elect their preferred 
candidates of choice.
      [Sec. 6. Whenever (a) a court has authorized the 
appointment of examiners pursuant to the provisions of section 
3(a), or (b), unless a declaratory judgment has been rendered 
under section 4(a), the Attorney General certifies with respect 
to any political subdivision named in, or included within the 
scope of, determinations made under section 4(b) that (1) he 
has received complaints in writing from twenty or more 
residents of such political subdivision alleging that they have 
been denied the right to vote under color of law on account of 
race or color, or in contravention of the guarantees set forth 
in section 4(f)(2), and that he believes such complaints to be 
meritorious, or (2) that in his judgment (considering, among 
other factors, whether the ratio of nonwhite persons to white 
persons registered to vote within such subdivision appears to 
him to be reasonably attributable to violations of the 
fourteenth or fifteenth amendment or whether substantial 
evidence exists that bona fide efforts are being made within 
such subdivision to comply with the fourteenth or fifteenth 
amendment), the appointment of examiners is otherwise necessary 
to enforce the guarantees of the fourteenth or fifteenth 
amendment, the Civil Service Commission shall appoint as many 
examiners for such subdivision as it may deem appropriate to 
prepare and maintain lists of persons eligible to vote in 
Federal, State, and local elections. Such examiners, hearing 
officers provided for in section 9(a), and other persons deemed 
necessary by the Commission to carry out the provisions and 
purposes of this Act shall be appointed, compensated, and 
separated without regard to the provisions of any statute 
administered by the Civil Service Commission, and service under 
this Act shall not be considered employment for the purposes of 
any statute administered by the Civil Service Commission, 
except the provisions of subchapter III of chapter 73 of title 
5, United States Code, relating to political activities: That 
the Commission is authorized, after consulting the head of the 
appropriate department or agency, to designate suitable persons 
in the official service of the United States, with their 
consent, to serve in these positions. Examiners and hearing 
officers shall have the power to administer oaths.
      [Sec. 7. (a) The examiners for each political subdivision 
shall, at such places as the Civil Service Commission shall by 
regulation designate, examine applicants concerning their 
qualifications for voting. An application to an examiner shall 
be in such form as the Commission may require and shall contain 
allegations that the applicant is not otherwise registered to 
vote.
    [(b) Any person whom the examiner finds, in accordance with 
instructions received under section 9(b), to have the 
qualifications prescribed by State law not inconsistent with 
the Constitution and laws of the United States shall promptly 
be placed on a list of eligible voters. A challenge to such 
listing may be made in accordance with section 9(a) and shall 
not be the basis for a prosecution under section 12 of this 
Act. The examiner shall certify and transmit such list, and any 
supplements as appropriate, at least once a month, to the 
offices of the appropriate election officials, with copies to 
the Attorney General and the attorney general of the State, and 
any such lists and supplements thereto transmitted during the 
month shall be available for public inspection on the last 
business day of the month and in any event not later than the 
forty-fifth day prior to any election. The appropriate State or 
local election official shall place such names on the official 
voting list. Any person whose name appears on the examiner's 
list shall be entitled and allowed to vote in the election 
district of his residence unless and until the appropriate 
election officials shall have been notified that such person 
has been removed from such list in accordance with subsection 
(d): That no person shall be entitled to vote in any election 
by virtue of this Act unless his name shall have been certified 
and transmitted on such a list to the offices of the 
appropriate election officials at least forty-five days prior 
to such election.
    [(c) The examiner shall issue to each person whose name 
appears on such a list a certificate evidencing his eligibility 
to vote.
    [(d) A person whose name appears on such a list shall be 
removed therefrom by an examiner if (1) such person has been 
successfully challenged in accordance with the procedure 
prescribed in section 9, or (2) he has been determined by an 
examiner to have lost his eligibility to vote under State law 
not inconsistent with the Constitution and the laws of the 
United States.
      [Sec. 8. Whenever an examiner is serving under this Act 
in any political subdivision, the Civil Service Commission may 
assign, at the request of the Attorney General, one or more 
persons, who may be officers of the United States, (1) to enter 
and attend at any place for holding an election in such 
subdivision for the purpose of observing whether persons who 
are entitled to vote are being permitted to vote, and (2) to 
enter and attend at any place for tabulating the votes cast at 
any election held in such subdivision for the purpose of 
observing whether votes cast by persons entitled to vote are 
being properly tabulated. Such persons so assigned shall report 
to an examiner appointed for such political subdivision, to the 
Attorney General, and if the appointment of examiners has been 
authorized pursuant to section 3(a), to the court.
      [Sec. 9. (a) Any challenge to a listing on an eligibility 
list prepared by an examiner shall be heard and determined by a 
hearing officer appointed by and responsible to the Civil 
Service Commission and under such rules as the Commission shall 
by regulation prescribe. Such challenge shall be entertained 
only if filed at such office within the State as the Civil 
Service Commission shall by regulation designate, and within 
ten days after the listing of the challenged person is made 
available for public inspection, and if supported by (1) the 
affidavits of at least two persons having personal knowledge of 
the facts constituting grounds for the challenge, and (2) a 
certification that a copy of the challenge and affidavits have 
been served by mail or in person upon the person challenged at 
his place of residence set out in the application. Such 
challenge shall be determined within fifteen days after it has 
been filed. A petition for review of the decision of the 
hearing officer may be filed in the United States court of 
appeals for the circuit in which the person challenged resides 
within fifteen days after service of such decision by mail on 
the person petitioning for review but no decision or a hearing 
officer shall be reversed unless clearly erroneous. Any person 
listed shall be entitled and allowed to vote pending final 
determination by the hearing officer and by the court.
    [(b) The times, places, procedures, and form for 
application and listing pursuant to this Act and removals from 
the eligibility lists shall be prescribed by regulations 
promulgated by the Civil Service Commission and the Commission 
shall, after consultation with the Attorney General, instruct 
examiners concerning applicable State law not inconsistent with 
the constitution and laws of the United States with respect to 
(1) the qualifications required for listing, and (2) loss of 
eligibility to vote.
    [(c) Upon the request of the applicant or the challenger or 
on its own motion the Civil Service Commission shall have the 
power to require by subpoena the attendance and testimony of 
witnesses and the production of documentary evidence relating 
to any matter pending before it under the authority of this 
section. In case of contumacy or refusal to obey a subpoena, 
any district court of the United States or the United States 
court of any territory or possession, or the District Court of 
the United States for the District of Columbia, within the 
jurisdiction of which said person guilty of contumacy or 
refusal to obey is found or resides or is domiciled or 
transacts business, or has appointed an agent for receipt of 
service or process, upon application by the Attorney General of 
the United States shall have jurisdiction to issue to such 
person an order requiring such person to appear before the 
Commission or a hearing officer, there to produce pertinent, 
relevant, and nonprivileged documentary evidence if so ordered, 
or there to give testimony touching the matter under 
investigation; and any failure to obey such order of the court 
may be punished by said court as a contempt thereof.]
    Sec. 8. (a) Whenever--
            (1) a court has authorized the appointment of 
        observers under section 3(a) for a political 
        subdivision; or
            (2) the Attorney General certifies with respect to 
        any political subdivision named in, or included within 
        the scope of, determinations made under section 4(b), 
        unless a declaratory judgment has been rendered under 
        section 4(a), that--
                    (A) the Attorney General has received 
                written meritorious complaints from residents, 
                elected officials, or civic participation 
                organizations that efforts to deny or abridge 
                the right to vote under the color of law on 
                account of race or color, or in contravention 
                of the guarantees set forth in section 4(f)(2) 
                are likely to occur; or
                    (B) in the Attorney General's judgment 
                (considering, among other factors, whether the 
                ratio of nonwhite persons to white persons 
                registered to vote within such subdivision 
                appears to the Attorney General to be 
                reasonably attributable to violations of the 
                14th or 15th amendment or whether substantial 
                evidence exists that bona fide efforts are 
                being made within such subdivision to comply 
                with the 14th or 15th amendment), the 
                assignment of observers is otherwise necessary 
                to enforce the guarantees of the 14th or 15th 
                amendment;
the Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall assign 
as many observers for such subdivision as the Director may deem 
appropriate.
    (b) Except as provided in subsection (c), such observers 
shall be assigned, compensated, and separated without regard to 
the provisions of any statute administered by the Director of 
the Office of Personnel Management, and their service under 
this Act shall not be considered employment for the purposes of 
any statute administered by the Director of the Office of 
Personnel Management, except the provisions of section 7324 of 
title 5, United States Code, prohibiting partisan political 
activity.
    (c) The Director of the Office of Personnel Management is 
authorized to, after consulting the head of the appropriate 
department or agency, designate suitable persons in the 
official service of the United States, with their consent, to 
serve in these positions.
    (d) Observers shall be authorized to--
            (1) enter and attend at any place for holding an 
        election in such subdivision for the purpose of 
        observing whether persons who are entitled to vote are 
        being permitted to vote; and
            (2) enter and attend at any place for tabulating 
        the votes cast at any election held in such subdivision 
        for the purpose of observing whether votes cast by 
        persons entitled to vote are being properly tabulated.
    (e) Observers shall investigate and report to the Attorney 
General, and if the appointment of observers has been 
authorized pursuant to section 3(a), to the court.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

      Sec. 12. (a) Whoever shall deprive or attempt to deprive 
any person of any right secured by section 2, 3, 4, 5, [7,] or 
10 or shall violate section 11(a), shall be fined not more than 
$5,000, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
    (b) Whoever, within a year following an election in a 
political subdivision in which [an examiner has been appointed] 
an observer has been assigned (1) destroys, defaces, mutilates, 
or otherwise alters the marking of a paper ballot which has 
been cast in such election, or (2) alters any official record 
of voting in such election tabulated from a voting machine or 
otherwise, shall be fined not more than $5,000, or imprisoned 
not more than five years, or both.
    (c) Whoever conspires to violate the provisions of 
subsection (a) or (b) of this section, or interferes with any 
right secured by section 2, 3, 4, 5, [7,] 10, or 11(a) shall be 
fined not more than $5,000, or imprisoned not more than five 
years, or both.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (e) Whenever in any political subdivision in which there 
are [examiners] observers appointed pursuant to this Act any 
persons allege to such an [examiner] observer within forty-
eight hours after the closing of the polls that notwithstanding 
(1) their listing under this Act or registration by an 
appropriate election official and (2) their eligibility to 
vote, they have not been permitted to vote in such election, 
the [examiner] observer shall forthwith notify the Attorney 
General if such allegations in his opinion appear to be well 
founded. Upon receipt of such notification the Attorney General 
may forthwith file with the district court an application for 
an order providing for the marking, casting, and counting of 
the ballots of such persons and requiring the inclusion of 
their votes in the total vote before the results of such 
election shall be deemed final and any force or effect given 
thereto. The district court shall hear and determine such 
matters immediately after the filing of such application. The 
remedy provided in this subsection shall not preclude any 
remedy available under State or Federal law.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

      [Sec. 13. Listing procedures shall be terminated in any 
political subdivision of any State (a) with respect to 
examiners appointed pursuant to clause (b) of section 6 
whenever the Attorney General notifies the Civil Service 
Commission, or whenever the District Court for the District of 
Columbia determines in an action for declaratory judgment 
brought by any political subdivision with respect to which the 
Director of the Census has determined that more than 50 per 
centum of the nonwhite persons of voting age residing therein 
are registered to vote, (1) that all persons listed by an 
examiner for such subdivision have been placed on the 
appropriate voting registration roll, and (2) that there is no 
longer reasonable cause to believe that persons will be 
deprived of or denied the right to vote on account of race or 
color, or in contravention of the guarantees set forth in 
section 4(f)(2) in such subdivision, and (b), with respect to 
examiners appointed pursuant to section 3(a), upon order of the 
authorizing court. A political subdivision may petition the 
Attorney General for the termination of listing procedures 
under clause (a) of this section, and may petition the Attorney 
General to request the Director of the Census to take such 
survey or census as may be appropriate for the making of the 
determination provided for in this section. The District Court 
for the District of Columbia shall have jurisdiction to require 
such survey or census to be made by the Director of the Census 
and it shall require him to do so if it deems the Attorney 
General's refusal to request such survey or census to be 
arbitrary or unreasonable.]
    Sec. 13. (a) The assignment of observers shall terminate in 
any political subdivision of any State--
            (1) with respect to observers appointed pursuant to 
        section 8 or with respect to examiners certified under 
        this Act before the date of the enactment of the Fannie 
        Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting 
        Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006, 
        whenever the Attorney General notifies the Director of 
        the Office of Personnel Management, or whenever the 
        District Court for the District of Columbia determines 
        in an action for declaratory judgment brought by any 
        political subdivision described in subsection (b), that 
        there is no longer reasonable cause to believe that 
        persons will be deprived of or denied the right to vote 
        on account of race or color, or in contravention of the 
        guarantees set forth in section 4(f)(2) in such 
        subdivision; and
            (2) with respect to observers appointed pursuant to 
        section 3(a), upon order of the authorizing court.
    (b) A political subdivision referred to in subsection 
(a)(1) is one with respect to which the Director of the Census 
has determined that more than 50 per centum of the nonwhite 
persons of voting age residing therein are registered to vote.
    (c) A political subdivision may petition the Attorney 
General for a termination under subsection (a)(1).
      Sec. 14. (a) * * *
    (b) No court other than the District Court for the District 
of Columbia [or a court of appeals in any proceeding under 
section 9] shall have jurisdiction to issue any declaratory 
judgment pursuant to section 4 or section 5 or any restraining 
order or temporary or permanent injunction against the 
execution or enforcement of any provision of this Act or any 
action of any Federal officer or employee pursuant hereto.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (e) In any action or proceeding to enforce the voting 
guarantees of the fourteenth or fifteenth amendment, the court, 
in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party, other than 
the United States, a reasonable attorney's fee, reasonable 
expert fees, and other reasonable litigation expenses as part 
of the costs.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


TITLE II--SUPPLEMENTAL PROVISIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                    BILINGUAL ELECTION REQUIREMENTS

      Sec. 203. (a) * * *
    (b) Bilingual Voting Materials Requirement.--
            (1) Generally.--Before August 6, [2007] 2032, no 
        covered State or political subdivision shall provide 
        voting materials only in the English language.
            (2) Covered States And Political Subdivisions.--
                    (A) Generally.--A State or political 
                subdivision is a covered State or political 
                subdivision for the purposes of this subsection 
                if the Director of the Census determines, based 
                on [census data] the 2010 American Community 
                Survey census data and subsequent American 
                Community Survey data in 5-year increments, or 
                comparable census data, that--
                            (i)  * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                           Markup Transcript



                            BUSINESS MEETING

                        WEDNESDAY, MAY 10, 2006

                  House of Representatives,
                                Committee on the Judiciary,
                                                    Washington, DC.
    The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:08 a.m., in 
Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, the Honorable F. 
James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (Chairman of the Committee) presiding.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The Committee will be in order. A 
working quorum is present. Pursuant to notice I now call up the 
bill H.R. 9, the ``Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta 
Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act 
of 2006'' for purposes of markup and move its favorable 
recommendation to the House. Without objection, the bill is 
considered as read and open for amendment at any point, and the 
Chair recognizes himself for 5 minutes to explain the bill.
    [The bill, H.R. 9 follows:]
      
      

  


      
      

  


      
      

  


      
      

  


      
      

  


      
      

  


      
      

  


      
      

  


      
      

  


      
      

  


      
      

  


      
      

  


    Chairman Sensenbrenner. H.R. 9 reauthorizes for an 
additional 25 years and amends provisions of the Voting Rights 
Act set to expire on August 6, 2007. The Voting Rights Act was 
enacted in 1965 and reauthorized in 1970, 1975 and 1982, each 
time with strong bipartisan support. Like the preceding 
reauthorization efforts, this bill has strong support from 
Republicans and Democrats alike.
    On August 6th, 2005, our Nation celebrated the 40th 
anniversary of the VRA, which has been one of the most 
important pieces of civil rights legislation ever enacted. The 
enactment of the VRA resulted from the efforts of many who 
fought to eliminate our country's sad legacy of racial 
discrimination and insure that the rights guaranteed by the 
constitution were protected for all Americans.
    There is no more fundamental right than the right to vote 
because in a democracy, only the right to vote can protect all 
the other rights. This right is so central to our system of 
Government that it is protected by five separate amendments to 
our Constitution, including the 14th, 15th, 19th, 24th and 26th 
amendments.
    History reveals, however, that States and localities have 
not always been faithful to the rights and protections offered 
by our Constitution. Sadly, some have tried to disenfranchise 
African American and other minority voters through means 
ranging from violence and intimidation to subtle changes in 
voting rules. As a result, many minorities were unable to fully 
participate in the political process for nearly a century.
    The VRA changed this and successfully transformed our 
Nation's electoral process and the makeup of our local, State 
and Federal Governments. Since its enactment, the VRA has been 
instrumental in remedying past injustice by restructuring the 
relationship between States with a history of discrimination 
and the Federal Government.
    Section 5 prohibits States with a history of discrimination 
from changing electoral practices and processes without first 
submitting the changes to the Department of Justice, or to the 
district court for the District of Columbia. Section 5 helped 
ensure minority citizens have an equal opportunity to 
participate in our country's political process, and with other 
provisions of the VRA has helped increase minority 
participation in elections as well as the number of minorities 
serving in elected positions.
    Last summer, I, along with Ranking Member Conyers and 
Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Watt, pledged to have the 
VRA's temporary provisions authorized for another 25 years. 
Since last fall, the Subcommittee on the Constitution has been 
examining the VRA in great detail, focusing on the provisions 
set to expire in 2007. During these hearings, the Subcommittee 
examined the impact two separate Supreme Court decisions 
Bossier II and Georgia versus Ashcroft have had on section 5's 
ability to protect minorities from discriminatory voting 
changes, particularly in State and congressional redistricting 
initiatives.
    As a result, the bill includes language that makes it clear 
that a voting rule change motivated by any discriminatory 
purpose cannot be precleared, and clarifies that the purpose of 
the preclearance requirements is to protect the ability of 
minority citizens to elect their preferred candidates of 
choice.
    The Committee record shows that while the VRA has been 
successful, our work is not yet complete. Discrimination in the 
electoral process continues to exist and threatens to undermine 
the progress that has been made over the last 40 years. By 
extending the VRA for an additional 25 years, H.R. 9 extending 
that the gains made by minorities are not jeopardized. As 
previously noted, this legislation has strong bipartisan 
support, including that of Speaker Hastert and Minority Leader 
Pelosi.
    The bill is also supported by many religious and civil 
rights organizations, including the leadership conference on 
civil rights, the ACLU, MALDEF, the NAACP, the National 
Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education 
Fund.
    I ask unanimous consent to include in the record a letter 
dated May 3rd, sent by the leadership Congress on Civil Rights 
and co-signed by an extensive list of civil rights and 
religious organizations, and without objection the letter will 
be placed in the record at this point.
    [The information referred to follows:]
    
    
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The majority leader's office has 
indicated that H.R. 9 will be considered on the House floor 
next week. I strongly urge my colleagues to support this 
legislation.
    I will now recognize the Ranking Member from Michigan, Mr. 
Conyers, for 5 minutes.
    Mr. Conyers. Mr. Chairman and Members of the Judiciary 
Committee, this is a historic moment for me because I came to 
the Congress in 1965 and was able to participate not only in 
the three extensions of the act in 1970, 1975 and 1982, but I 
was there at the beginning of it, and so I come with a lot of 
memories and a lot of reflections, and I am proud to support 
this reauthorization that has been the result of incredible 
amounts of work from nearly every Member of the Committee, but 
in particular, the Chairman, Jim Sensenbrenner, whose strong 
commitment to the act, which was equally evident in the 1982 
reauthorization. His leadership has been critical to the 
legislative success of the act and a testament to the fact that 
civil rights is not a partisan issue, indeed, it is a 
bipartisan issue.
    I also note that one of the people that have worked with 
Mel Watt, who is a Member of this Committee and chairman of the 
Congressional Black Caucus, is with us, and his name is Wade 
Henderson of the leadership conference on civil rights, who has 
worked with dozens and dozens of groups until we could finally 
get this thing together, and then worked with our Republican 
colleagues, the leadership, and here we are today after having 
had a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on the east front of the 
steps of the United States Capitol, that this was, in fact, as 
important a matter as has been said. We haven't reached a 
point, but we made incredible, incredible progress.
    Section 5, of course the trigger is the heart of the 
extension. Then we move to section 203, where we are trying to 
get the language minorities, who, in some places, remain 
victims of discriminatory voting continued in that for those 
who still need language assistance to cast an effective ballot.
    May I say, where could we show democracy working more 
finely than helping those new citizens get through this most 
important responsibility that they now bear. So through a 
series of 10 hearings, the Committees compiled a record, the 
Chairman and I went to the Senate before Chairman Specter of 
Judiciary, and they incorporated into their record our entire 
hearings. It was, I think, a very, very important event indeed.
    We have a couple of Supreme Court cases that we untangled, 
Georgia and Ashcroft and the Bossier decision earlier.
    And so what I close with is this, the Voting Rights Act is 
one of our Nation's most important civil rights victories. It 
memorializes the struggles and the marches and the 
understanding that, thanks to John Lewis of Georgia, have come 
to understand that this is something that the world is watching 
to see how we respond to our own democratic institution, the 
one of voting. And so we know that we must continue our efforts 
to protect the rights of all voters, and the reauthorization 
and restoration of this crown jewel, the Voting Rights Act must 
be continued, and I am hoping that we can do it collectively in 
a collegial manner, as friendly even as we can to extend this 
act at full strength and send it to the other body. I am fully 
committed to doing it, just as I was in of 1965.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I return my time.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman's time is expired. 
Without objection all Members may include opening statements in 
the record at this point.
    Are there amendments. The gentleman from California, for 
what purpose do you seek recognition?
    Mr. Issa. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The clerk will report the 
amendment.
    The Clerk. Amendment to H.R. 9, offered by Mr. Issa of 
California. Add at the end, the following. Section, study and 
report. The comptroller general shall study the implementation, 
effectiveness and efficiency of the current section 203 of the 
Voting Rights Act of 1965 and alternatives to the current 
implementations consistent----
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Without objection the amendment is 
consider as read. The gentleman from California is recognized 
for 5 minutes.
    [The amendment follows:]
      
      

  


    Mr. Issa. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I offer this, I believe, 
noncontroversial amendment first and foremost, because I 
support the Voting Rights Act reauthorization. I believe that 
it is an important continuing American legacy trying to reach 
as many people as possible so they can exercise their right to 
vote.
    But I also believe that in the 21st century the 
technologies and the ability to do a better job, perhaps more 
efficiently and effectively, at the same time exists. Just as 
the blind early on--just as the blind early on----
    Mr. Conyers. Would the gentleman from California yield to 
me just briefly?
    Mr. Issa. Yes.
    Mr. Conyers. I wanted to indicate that we didn't know if 
there were going to be amendments or not, but this amendment 
has been reviewed, and I can report to you that it is accepted 
on our side. I commend you for it, as a matter of fact.
    Mr. Issa. Thank you.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Would the gentleman yield to me?
    Mr. Issa. Yes, I will, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. I reviewed it as well and I agree 
with Mr. Conyers.
    Mr. Issa. Then I will quickly take yes for an answer and 
simply say that I believe that we will find ways to do even a 
better job of what we have been doing and trying to do since 
1965. With that, I yield back.
    Mr. Watt. Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman from North Carolina.
    Mr. Watt. I wanted to inquire.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Recognized for 5 minutes.
    Mr. Watt. I want to inquire between now and the floor we 
might look at whether the 1-year period is the right time. I 
think there is a lot of information about the effectiveness of 
203 going back, but we have got an election this year and a big 
presidential election in 2008.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Will the gentleman yield.
    Mr. Watt. Yes.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. How long does the gentleman suggest 
that we have this study go out for?
    Mr. Watt. Well, I am not sure. I want to leave open the 
possibility that----
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. I was going to ask unanimous 
consent to strike 1 year from line 7 and insert another figure. 
Do you have a good idea what the figure should be?
    Mr. Watt. I think it ought to be right after the 2008 
presidential election, because we will have a better body of 
information to analyze.
    Mr. Issa. Would the gentleman yield? My intention with this 
was, in fact, that we would supplement after an initial 1-year 
report, that we would expect to go back out with an additional 
study that, in fact, I don't expect they will have all the 
answers, but this body will begin looking at the future of ways 
to do what the Voting Rights Act insists that we do, and do it 
better.
    Mr. Watt. With that understanding and that record, I think 
it would be fine, Mr. Chairman. The challenge, I think we face 
additionally, is to convince the Senate to put this in their 
bill, because we are trying to keep this bill.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Will the gentleman yield back?
    Mr. Watt. I yield back.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. For what purpose does the gentleman 
from New York seek recognition?
    Mr. Nadler. Mr. Chairman, I have no objections to Mr. 
Issa's amendments. I was looking forward to hearing from him 
what new technological developments he thinks affects this.
    Mr. Issa. If the gentleman would yield.
    Mr. Nadler. Yes, I would.
    Mr. Issa. A good example are the Internet-based universal 
translation devices that could, in fact, be certified. So 
instead of having an argument over whether there are sufficient 
Laotians in some area, that we may be able to have a national 
database for translation. In addition, the ability to convert 
text to voice in multiple languages, particularly for the blind 
and those who do not have reading skills in any language.
    Mr. Nadler. Reclaiming my time. It is very interesting. I 
ask if the gentlemen would yield for a further question. It is 
your thought that if some of this technology works out, that 
maybe we would instead of requiring multiple languages on the 
ballot, require that this technology be at the polling places?
    Mr. Issa. I think, if the gentleman would yield, I believe 
that what would begin to happen is we would begin to empower 
and probably fund with Federal funds these technologies being 
made available, certified, overseen and then they would become 
still a States issue, but I think a lot of States would quickly 
adopt.
    Mr. Nadler. I thank the gentleman. I yield back.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The question is on agreeing to the 
amendment offered by the gentleman from California, Mr. Issa. 
Those in favor will say aye. Opposed, no. Ayes appear to have 
it. The ayes have it. The amendment is agreed to. Are there 
further amendments?
    Ms. Jackson Lee. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the 
desk, 248.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The Clerk will report amendment 
248.
    The Clerk. Amendment to H.R. 9, offered by Ms. Jackson Lee 
of Texas. Add at the end the following: Sec. 9. additional 
violation of right to vote. Section 2 of Voting Rights Act of 
1965 is amended by adding at the end the following. Subsection 
C, a per se violation of subsection A shall be established 
where a jurisdiction covered by section 5 of this Act 
redistricts its legislative or congressional districts in mid 
decade, provided that such redistricting take place after 
legislative or----
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Without objection the amendment is 
considered as read and the gentlewoman from Texas is recognized 
for 5 minutes.
    [The amendment follows:]
      
      

  


    Ms. Jackson Lee. I thank the distinguished Chairman and the 
Ranking Member. I appreciate this opportunity to explain my 
amendment, and my amendment makes it an automatic or per se 
violation of the Voting Rights Act for a covered jurisdiction 
like my home State of Texas to redistrict its legislative or 
congressional districts in the mid decade. After those----
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The Committee will be in order. The 
gentlewoman from Texas.
    Ms. Jackson Lee. I did want to mention to my colleagues 
that I have several amendments at the desk, but I will be 
listening keenly to my other colleagues as well.
    Let me just say that like my home State of Texas, to 
redistrict its legislative or congressional districts in the 
mid decade after those districts had already been redrawn in 
that decade and either enacted into State law or approved by a 
Federal court, and might I say that Texas is a Voting Rights 
Act State.
    Before I explain my amendment, let me express my sincere 
appreciation to the Chairman and Ranking Member for the 
generally bipartisan cooperation in shepherding this historic 
and vital legislation to this point. Let me thank the many 
organizations and particularly the leadership of Wade Henderson 
and a number of other very instructive groups. Let me thank my 
colleague, Representative Mel Watt and the Members of this 
Judiciary Committee.
    This hits home very hard and very pointedly and the 
enormous impact of the mid districting of our congressional 
districts in the State of Texas symbolizing what could happen 
across the Nation brought the acts of democracy and the Voting 
Rights Act in the State of Texas to its knees.
    The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is no ordinary piece of 
legislation. For millions of Americans and many on this 
Committee the Voting Rights Act act of 1965 is a sacred 
treasure earned by the sweat and toil and tears and blood of 
ordinary Americans who showed the world it wasn't impossible to 
accomplish extraordinary things. I think that it is 
particularly of note that the Honorable Barbara Jordan who sat 
in this Committee was one of the Members who modified along 
with the Judiciary Committee to add the language provision. 
This is how important this language and this Voting Rights Act 
is to all of us.
    The Voting Rights Act of 1965 as amended which we will vote 
to reauthorize today was enacted to remedy a history of 
discrimination in certain areas of the country. Presented with 
a record of systemic and systematic defiance by certain States 
and jurisdictions that could not be overcome by litigation, 
this Congress led by President Lyndon Johnson from my own home 
State of Texas took the steps necessary to stop it.
    It is instructive to recall the words of President Johnson 
when he proposed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Rarely are we 
met with a challenge to the values and the purposes and the 
meaning of our beloved Nation. The issue of equal rights for 
American Negroes is such an issue. The command of the 
constitution is plain. It is wrong, deadly wrong to deny any of 
your fellow Americans the right to vote in this country. We are 
gratified that it has been expanded to include many other 
Americans. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 represents our country 
and this Congress at its best. It matches our words to deeds, 
our actions to our values, and, as is usually the case, when 
American acts consistent with its highest values, success 
follows.
    Without exaggeration, the Voting Rights Act has been one of 
the most effective civil rights laws passed by the Congress. In 
1964, there were approximately only 300 African Americans in 
public office, including just three in Congress; few, if any, 
black officials were elected anywhere in the south, and you can 
find the enormous impact on Hispanic-elected officials and 
voters.
    Today, there are more than 9,100 black elected officials, 
including 43 Members of Congress, the largest number ever. The 
act has opened the political process for many of the 
approximately 6,000 Latino public officials that have been 
elected and appointed Nationwide, including 263 at the State 
level, 27 of whom serve in Congress; Native Americans, Asians 
and others who have been historically impacted by these harsh 
barriers.
    Mr. Chairman, I hail from the State of Texas, the Lone Star 
State and a State that sadly had one of the most egregious 
records of voting discrimination against racial and language 
minorities. Texas is one of the Voting Rights Act's covered 
jurisdictions. And then, of course, we experienced this, if you 
will, heinous act of redistricting that impacted, if you will, 
the impact of African American and Hispanic Congresspersons. I 
am only one of three African American women from Texas that 
serve in the Congress of the United States, and one of only two 
to sit on this Committee. But we hold this seat with the idea 
of the Voting Rights Act. And I sit here as the heir of the 
Civil Rights Movement, a beneficiary of the Voting Rights Act, 
and my faith----
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The time of the gentlewoman has 
expired.
    Ms. Jackson Lee. My amendment simply, Mr. Chairman, if I 
might just finish this sentence, my amendment is simply it is 
obviously the right thing to do. It declares that it is an 
automatic per se violation of the Voting Rights Act for a 
covered jurisdiction to redistrict its legislative or 
Congressional district in the mid decade after those districts 
had already been redrawn in that decade and either enacted into 
State law or approved by a Federal court. This, I believe, is 
in compliance with the Voting Rights Act that we now have 
before us, and I would ask that we have the ability to make it 
more secure by adding this amendment.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman from Michigan.
    Mr. Conyers. Mr. Chairman, I am extremely reluctant after 
all of the great comments passed by the gentlelady from Texas 
to preserve any support for this amendment. I oppose it because 
Texas redistricting litigation is before the courts right now, 
and I think to write this into a 25-year bill would be totally 
inadequate and I reluctantly have to oppose the amendment.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Does the gentleman yield back?
    Mr. Conyers. Yes, I do yield back.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The Chair recognizes himself for 5 
minutes in opposition to the amendment.
    This bill is the subject of lengthy negotiations and it is 
an agreed upon bill, and this amendment is a deal breaker, and 
I will be very blunt in saying that. If you look at the 
litigation history of the Voting Rights Act following its 1965 
enactment and its 1972 and 1982 extensions, the court 
repeatedly stated that for Congress to override the 
prerogatives of States in the election, there has to be an 
extensive legislative record and findings drawn from that 
record to show that there is discrimination.
    As a result, both the three times in the past when the 
Voting Rights Act was passed and reauthorized, as well as this 
time, there has been that extensive legislative record. There 
has not been a record that has been created on this subject. 
And to put this into section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, in my 
opinion, would end up jeopardizing the constitutionality of it 
because Congress has made no findings.
    I would also point out that the record or the amendment 
that has been offered by the gentlewoman from Texas is probably 
erroneously drafted because what it does do is it locks in the 
current Texas redistricting, if it should be enacted prior to 
the time a court should decide the case, if the court decides 
the case in favor of the plaintiffs and against the State of 
Texas.
    So for all of these reasons I would think it is not an 
amendment that should be agreed to.
    I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
    Mr. Gohmert. I would also like the record to note the 
current Texas redistricting plan added one African American, 
minority district that was not there, and to say that per se it 
violated the Voting Rights Act would actually be quite a snub. 
It would seem to African American Democrat Judge Al Green, who 
I think is a great addition to our Congress, and I would hate 
to say per se he is a bad thing for the African American 
community.
    I yield back, Chairman.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. You are going to yield back the 
balance of my time.
    The question is on--the gentleman from North Carolina Mr. 
Watt. 
    Mr. Watt. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I move to strike the 
last word.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman is recognized for 5 
minutes.
    Mr. Watt. Mr. Chairman, I recognize throughout the 
discussions leading to the introduction of this bipartisan and 
bicameral bill that there would be people both on the Committee 
and outside the Committee who have individual State interests, 
local interests, and national interests that would go beyond 
the scope of this bill, some of them possibly more 
appropriately addressed in the Help America Vote Act, some 
addressed in other contexts.
    I think we have reached a bill that is a very delicate 
balance, and in the interest of maintaining that balance I am 
going to ask Ms. Jackson Lee, if she might consider withdrawing 
this amendment so that we can keep the balance that has been 
neglected and maintained, avoid the possibility of ending up 
with a divisive fight with the Senate, avoid the possibility of 
prolonging the processing of this important extension bill by 
possibly having to go to conference, and I am going to ask not 
only Ms. Jackson Lee, but all of our Members to understand that 
the magnitude of the national interest here far exceeds what 
may be going on in any particular State or jurisdiction.
    We need to send a resounding message to America that the 
importance of the vote to every citizen in this country is 
important and is to be protected. And in that spirit I would 
ask the gentlelady if she might consider withdrawing her 
amendment at this point and I would be happy to yield to the 
gentlelady for the response.
    Ms. Jackson Lee. I thank the gentlemen very much. If I 
might just briefly say I think it is well known of the 
devastating impact to the voters of Texas that generated out of 
mid-term redistricting, even to the extent that we saw the 
staff of the Justice Department's position obliterated by 
political appointees.
    Let me just say this; that in that State we saw the 
diminishing of African American vote and the loss of impact of 
the Latino and Hispanic vote, if you will. So it is of enormous 
importance to us. Frankly, if we can draw upon the good graces 
of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, frankly, to wait 
on these interests, your inquiry, Mr. Watt is one that I will 
consider.
    I will close by saying this; that we remember the African 
proverb when the bull and elephants fight, the ground gets 
trampled on. I believe that when we had this redistricting mid-
term, we were trampled on, and that is the rights of African 
Americans, Hispanic, other racial minorities and language 
minorities.
    But because of the intent to move forward and the consensus 
that has been established and my desire for this voters right 
act and my constituents' desire for it to be reauthorized 
without the baggage of amendments, without compromises, then at 
this time, as Mr. Conyers has said, I will pursue the legal 
remedies in the courts, and I will look to write legislation on 
this specific mid-term redistricting and encourage the civil 
rights organizations to support me in this effort and with that 
I ask unanimous consent to withdraw this amendment.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The amendment is withdrawn. The 
gentleman from Iowa, Mr. King.
    Mr. King. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have an amendment at 
the desk, 109.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The Clerk will report the 
amendment.
    The Clerk. Amendment to H.R. 9, offered by Mr. King of 
Iowa, strike section 7 and 8.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman from Iowa is 
recognized for 5 minutes.
    [The amendment follows:]
      
      

  


    Mr. King. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My amendment 109, and it 
is in conjunction with the King-Inglis amendment, it simply 
allows the sunset of sections 203 and 4(f)(4). So it strikes 
section 7 and 8 of the bill, the Voting Rights Act 
reauthorization, and allow them to automatically expire in 
2007. It would not prohibit voters who need assistance from 
having help to vote. Current law states, and I will quote: Any 
voter who requires assistance to vote by reason of blindness, 
disability or inability to read or write may be given 
assistance by a person of the voter's choice. This allows 
people, including limited English-proficient persons, who are 
not able to read an English language ballot, to have assistance 
in the voting booth. This approach is preferable to the 
requirements in section 203 and 4(f)(4), because it puts the 
burden to understand English ballots on U.S. citizens 
exercising their right to vote, not on the taxpayers of 
America. It also allows the voters to choose who will help him 
or her in the voting groups. My amendment ends the significant 
growing unfunded mandated on counties an localities. The number 
of counties required to provide election materials in foreign 
languages has increased dramatically.
    In 1975, only a relatively handful of counties in a few 
States were covered under sections 203 and 4(f)(4). Today, 
nearly 300 counties and municipalities in 30 States across the 
country to hire bilingual poll workers and produce election 
materials in foreign languages. This number will only increase 
after the 2010, 2020 and the 2030 censuses, because the 
reauthorization extends them for 25 more years.
    Reauthorizing the multilingual voting mandate for 25 years 
contradicts our immigration law, because knowledge of English 
is a condition for naturalization. Since 1907, Congress has 
required candidates for naturalization to demonstrate an 
understanding of the English language, including an ability to 
read, write and speak English in the ordinary usage of the 
English language.
    In order to vote, a person must be a U.S. citizen. Our 
naturalization standard was intended to ensure that immigrants 
are able to fully participate in our democratic process when 
they naturalize. The multilingual voting requirements were 
always intended to be temporary. The multilingual election 
requirements in 203 and 4(f)(4) of the current Voting Rights 
Act were not part of the original VRA, and were always intended 
to be a temporary measure. They were only added by the VRA in 
1975, 10 years after the original act became law, and they are 
designed for a specific purpose to automatically expire in 
2007.
    That is what my amendment does, allows them to expire in 
2007. My amendment fixes an historic aberration. For most of 
our Nation's history, we have expected all Americans including 
new immigrants to vote in English. This encouraged new 
immigrants to learn English to assimilate in order to have full 
access to full freedom and economic opportunity available in 
America.
    At a time when the U.S. is experiencing record immigration, 
it is essential that we return to this tradition of encouraging 
assimilation.
    The King-Inglis amendment also reduces the likelihood of 
errors. During the 2000 general election, six polling places 
with significant Chinese immigrant population in Queens, New 
York, had Democratic translated in Chinese to Republican and 
Republican to Democratic on their ballots, causing confusion 
and one would presume voter error.
    Smaller populations of limited English proficient voters do 
not get bilingual ballots. They should be provided 
constitutional equal protection under the 14th amendment by 
allowing ballots only in one language, because that is the only 
way we can guarantee equal protection, is one single standard, 
the standard of English. The next leader of the free world may 
be chosen by non-English speakers.
    For these reasons and many more, I encourage the Members to 
support the King-Inglis amendment, which would allow for the 
sunset of bilingual ballots and return us back to the 
assimilation standard that this country has so historically 
stood by for these centuries. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I 
would yield back.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The Chair recognizes himself for 5 
minutes in opposition to the amendment.
    The Chair thanks the gentleman from Iowa for bringing this 
issue up before the Committee, and let me say, I don't think 
the time has come to get rid of bilingual ballots, for a couple 
of reasons. First of all, and probably most importantly, there 
are a number of United States citizens who are born here, and 
particularly those who have been residents of Puerto Rico where 
Spanish is the language that is used, and should they move to 
the mainland U.S., they are just as much U.S. citizens as 
everybody else. And even though they are not functional in 
English because of where they were raised, they are entitled to 
vote in their State or their locality of residence. And I 
believe that they should have access to bilingual ballots, if 
there is a concentration of them.
    The second point that I would like to make is that here we 
are not dealing with illegal immigrants, we are dealing with 
United States citizens, and they are people who have either 
attained citizenship by reason of birth in the United States, 
and that includes places like Puerto Rico and Guam, or have 
been naturalized.
    Now I think that probably the need for continuation of 
bilingual ballots is perhaps an indictment as to the lack of 
effectiveness of bilingual education. English is the language 
of commerce in this country, whether we pass a law saying that 
that is the case or not, and no one can really achieve the 
American dream unless they are able to function in English.
    Should we close the door to understanding a ballot because 
of a failure of our educational system or because of the fact 
that people have moved to a place where English is commonly 
used in the United States from a place in the United States 
where English is not commonly used? I would answer that 
question no, and for that reason, I think that the bilingual 
ballot provisions that are contained in the compromise in 
section 203 should not be stricken, as the gentleman from 
Iowa's amendment proposes, and consequently I would urge its 
defeat.
    Mr. Conyers. Could the Chairman yield to me?
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. I yield.
    Mr. Conyers. I won't need the time. But I agree and come to 
the same conclusion as the Chairman, but with this reasoning: 
The numbers of eligible Latino voting is still way behind their 
African American and white counterparts, and we also have an 
extremely low number of Latino elected officials. So bilingual 
assistance is still viable and necessary. The other reason, 
ladies and gentlemen, is that the Asian American populations 
are experiencing the same problem.
    I conclude by merely pointing out that the costs are very 
modest, if there are any costs at all. When we hire a bilingual 
poll worker, they are paid the same as other poll workers. And 
so it seems to me that from a cost basis and from a need basis, 
we don't need this amendment; we need to continue on with 
section 203 in its presents form.
    Ms. Lofgren. Would the gentleman yield?
    Mr. Conyers. I would like to speak briefly in support of 
the proposition just outlined by the Ranking Member and note 
that in my congressional district, there is the largest 
percentage of Americans of Vietnamese descent of any 
congressional district in the country, and these are patriotic 
Americans. But especially for the older people, English has 
been learned to become naturalized, but in California, we have 
these very complicated initiatives, and it is really very, very 
helpful for people to be able to read it in their first 
language instead of their second language.
    I thank the gentleman for yielding.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The Chair yields back whatever time 
he has left.
    The gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Scott.
    Mr. Scott. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I want to 
thank you and Chairman Chabot and the Ranking Members for 
holding extensive hearings on this issue because we have a 
hearing record and the record is clear, if you provide the 
assistance, the voter participation will go up. If you remove 
the assistance, the voter participation will go down. There is 
no evidence presented to contradict that finding, nor is there 
any evidence that I remember of mistakes being made. That is 
new information.
    But as the gentleman from Michigan has indicated, there is 
virtually no cost to providing this assistance. You have got to 
hire a poll worker anyway. If you have a significant number of 
people who speak another language, it makes sense to hire 
somebody who speaks both languages.
    Mr. Chairman, this only applies when there is a critical 
mass of voters in that district. Five percent, or 10,000 voters 
are enough to affect an election and enough where encouraging 
or discouraging voter turnout might reasonably affect the 
outcome. Those in power, we don't want to give those in power 
the ability to jury-rig the election by virtue of the fact they 
can discourage certain workers.
    A lot has been said about the need for people to learn 
English. The hearing record reflects that there is a long 
waiting list for people who are trying to learn to become for 
fluent in English. If we are going to apply for resources to 
get rid of these waiting lists, that is a political decision. 
The way people affect that decisions by voting. If you are 
denying them the right to vote or discouraging the right to 
vote, that makes no sense. The more they vote, the more English 
they will be able to learn because they will vote for those 
provisions.
    Mr. Chairman, the bottom line is that the assistance works, 
it increases voter participation. The point of the this bill, 
the Voting Rights Act is to encourage participation, and 
section 203 is clearly consistent with that desire and 
inconsistent with this amendment. I would hope that we would 
defeat this amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman from Texas, Mr. 
Smith.
    Mr. Smith. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman is recognized for 5 
minutes.
    Mr. Smith. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your and the Ranking 
Member's collaborative efforts on this bill, and understand 
that the product is the result of a long negotiate process. I 
also appreciate Mr. King's amendment on the subject of 
bilingual ballots and I intend to support the King amendment as 
well as the underlying bill.
    Our democracy rests on the foundation of the right to vote. 
The Voting Rights Act has succeeded in helping to guarantee 
that right over the last 40 years. It has enabled citizens who 
are eligible to vote, to do so.
    The Voting Rights Act has moved America from a place where 
people who supported the right of minorities to vote were being 
murdered, to a place where over 123 million citizens including 
minorities voted in the last national election.
    Like others though, I have concerns about 2 sections of the 
Voting Rights Act and whether they are necessary in their 
current form. First, I am concern that bilingual ballots are 
required whether there is a demonstrated need or not. Also, if 
you were born in America, you should know English. If you are a 
naturalized citizen, you should have passed an English 
proficiency test.
    Second, I am concerned that the preclearance requirements 
overly burden many jurisdictions. We should not automatically 
apply these requirements to jurisdictions that no longer 
disenfranchise minority or other voters. We should make 
allowances for jurisdictions across America that no longer 
engage in illegal or discriminatory practices.
    In 1982, Congress added a process that allows jurisdictions 
to opt out of the requirements if their application was granted 
by the D.C. district court, but the process is difficult, and 
in some respects, impractical, which is one reason why only a 
few jurisdictions have qualified to opt out.
    Mr. Chairman, I look forward to the time when the opt out 
provisions will be used more successfully. Mr. Chairman, I 
support the goal of the underlying legislation and hope that 
during the legislative process, we can make the changes 
necessary to have a more workable Voting Rights Act, and, Mr. 
Chairman, I will yield balance of my time to the gentleman from 
Iowa, Mr. King.
    Mr. King. I thank the gentleman from Texas for yielding, 
and appreciate the opportunity to make a couple of points and I 
agree with our remarks made by the Chairman with regard to some 
of the reality in places like Puerto Rico. But I would point 
out that there has been for a long time a requirement to teach 
English in the schools in Puerto Rico and the odds of finding 
people there who are not proficient enough in English to 
understand a ballot are diminishing by the year.
    It becomes less and less essential, and I would speak to 
the issue, if they can't understand the ballot well enough in 
English, I still remind the Committee an individual has the 
opportunity to bring a person of their choice into the polling 
booth.
    Then I would add that the issue of bilingual poll workers 
being paid the same; they are hard to find. Sometimes it takes 
quite a lot of money to encourage someone to come in there. I 
would submit if they are paid the same, perhaps everyone gets a 
raise because the supply and demand. But they aren't always 
available.
    A third thing would be that if you cannot understand the 
ballot in English, and you can't learn to understand the ballot 
in English, even though you can bring someone into the polling 
booth, how does a voter determine their judgment on how they 
make a selection on perhaps who would be the next leader in the 
free world. If you can't understand the language, then how do 
you understand the culture, how do you make that evaluation.
    I would submit that 528 different decisions made in Florida 
in the year 2000 would have given a different electoral result, 
and I would also submit that that result may have been 
different had we seen this provision of the Voting Rights Act, 
the importance Voting Rights Act expire.
    I encourage support of this amendment and yield back to the 
gentleman from Texas, Mr. Smith.
    Mr. Smith. Mr. Chairman, I will yield back as well.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman from New York, Mr. 
Nadler.
    Mr. Nadler. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this amendment. We 
used to have literacy tests in this country on the grounds that 
only people who we thought were literate in the English 
language should be able to vote. We have now determined that 
that was discriminatory, and no one, I presume, on this 
Committee would defend that today, at least publicly.
    Now we have this amendment and this question before us. 
There are people in this country, Native Americans, people born 
in Puerto Rico, people who are legal immigrants who came here 
who are American citizens, all of whom had to take an English 
exam, civics exam to become citizens, except for those in 
Puerto Rico because they were already, but who are not as 
comfortable in English.
    I have at my house a history of the United States that ends 
in 1917 in Yiddish and English. It is the book my grandparents 
studied for their citizenship exams. They only spoke Yiddish at 
home until they died. My parents only spoke Yiddish when they 
wanted to keep a secret from the kids. My brothers and I don't 
speak Yiddish, for obvious reasons.
    Why would it have been harmful if we made it a little 
easier for my grandparents to vote by having a bilingual 
ballot. Section 203--and today's immigrants are no different. 
Section 203 simply says we have a concentration of foreign 
language proficient, less English proficient speakers in one 
district, then you should bilingual help there.
    The gentleman asks how are they supposed to know how to 
vote. We publish newspapers in this country in something like 
300 different languages. You don't have to read, as much as I 
hate to say it, The Washington Post or New York Times to know 
what you are doing. There are plenty of foreign language in 
Spanish, Russian and Chinese, and God knows what in this 
country that do as good a job at reporting, some of them.
    So the question really is, and Mr. Scott talked about how 
when you have this assistance, the turnout goes up, when you 
don't, it goes down. Do we want to discourage or encourage 
American citizens who want to vote because we are not sure they 
would vote for the right people. That is not worthy of this 
House. I had assumed that we weren't going to be offering 
amendments to this section today. I have an amendment prepared.
    I have a couple hundred thousand in New York and elsewhere 
now, people who immigrated starting under Ronald Reagan from 
the former Soviet Union. They speak Russian and English. They 
are not eligible for the bilingual assistance because Russian 
is not an Asian language. I think it should be. I prepared an 
amendment for that. I wasn't going to offer it because of an 
understanding we shouldn't be tampering with this, and I may 
not, but if we start amending section 203, I may offer that to 
make 203 even better than it is.
    It is a perfectly fine section now. And to go backwards to 
say that we should make it harder for people to vote, harder 
for them to understand, and now they all speak English, at 
least to the degree necessary to pass their citizenship exam. 
No one has repealed that section. Why would we want to make it 
harder for people to vote unless we think we know better about 
who they should vote for? So I pose this amendment.
    Mr. Conyers. I just want to commend the gentleman because 
he has brought his personal perspective and his family and also 
his reluctance to take more time as we move toward some votes 
on the floor that would prevent us from concluding with this 
measure today. And I thank the gentleman again. I yield back.
    Mr. Nadler. I yield back.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman from Indiana, Mr. 
Hostettler.
    Mr. Hostettler. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last 
word.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman is recognized for 5 
minutes.
    Mr. Hostettler. Mr. Chairman, I would like to voice my 
support for the King-Inglis amendment. As has been mentioned 
several times before, some people would suggest that voting is 
the most precious right that we encounter in America. I would 
suggest that probably even beyond that is having citizenship 
bestowed upon us at birth or as a result of naturalization, 
and, as has been mentioned, the process of naturalization 
requires a certain level of proficiency in English, and it was 
suggested earlier I guess that there is some implicit notion of 
bigotry in our naturalization process because it requires a 
proficiency of literacy in the English language. I don't think 
that is what was meant to be said but that was effectively what 
was said.
    I believe that as we look toward the issue of voting, that 
as individuals who wish to become citizens or wish to become as 
citizens proficient in English, that it is a tremendous prize 
to be able to go into the polling place and use that English 
language, the de facto new native tongue in the process of 
exercising that very blessed right, and that is the right to 
vote.
    So I do not believe that it is a great thing; it is a 
tremendous burden to require individuals to exercise that right 
of voting in their newly acquired, in the case of naturalized 
citizens, native tongue, or in the native tongue in which they 
are born. It is what we have determined over many years in this 
country to be the native tongue, and I believe that it is time 
for this particular provision to be sunsetted and to be 
eliminated.
    And with that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my 
time.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentlewoman from California, 
Ms. Waters.
    Ms. Waters. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and Members. 
I rise in opposition. I move to strike the last word. I rise in 
opposition to this amendment. I know that there are Members who 
have all kinds of immigration concerns. I, first, would like to 
ask my colleagues not to use this bill to address your concerns 
about immigration and immigration reform.
    As it has been stated over and over again, a lot of work 
went into getting this bill before us today in the shape and 
form that it is, with a lot of cooperation from both sides of 
the aisle. And so I think that this amendment would not only 
violate the kind of cooperation that has been seen in getting 
this bill before us, but there are other opportunities to deal 
with immigration concerns.
    Let me finally just say it was alluded to by my colleague 
from California that at one time, minorities were prevented 
from voting by having to pass a literacy test. For those people 
who never had the opportunity to go to school, to be educated, 
they were denied the right to vote.
    As we look at trying to make sure that we are fair to all 
Americans, we don't say that the blind who cannot see or cannot 
read or understand Braille cannot vote. We don't say that 
certain handicapped people who may have handicaps that would 
prevent them from being able to act in a total and complete way 
cannot be able to vote. And I think that this would be so 
discriminatory, this would single out Americans who for 
whatever reasons are not as proficient in English language and 
say that somehow they are less Americans and they should not be 
able to vote. I don't think we want to do that. And I think for 
those people who have worked hard to try and preserve the work 
of the civil rights movement, that this would certainly undo 
the kind of agreements entered into to try to do the right 
thing in this authorization.
    Let me say also before I close, that this bill is not 
everything that I would have it be. There are a lot more things 
that I would like to see. Even though this Voting Rights Act 
has helped minorities to be able to vote without the kind of 
interference that we saw during the days of rampant 
discrimination, I want you to know we are still fighting a lot 
of things at the polling place.
    All of us can remember that there was a database that was 
put together identifying people as felons down in Florida, 
people who have never even been arrested before. This does not 
address that and we know that. We still have voting machines 
with no paper trail. This does not address that. And we know 
that.
    We know that there have been at least two cases that were 
brought before the Attorney General and the Justice Department 
that they precleared, one of which the courts found was 
discriminatory, and I believe that was the case in Georgia 
where the requirements for identification just absolutely threw 
many of us for a loop.
    And this amendment that was attempted by Ms. Jackson and 
withdrawn was an amendment that certainly I could have 
supported, because of the way that redistricting is being done 
in order to eliminate the ability for certain people to 
participate through the redistricting efforts.
    So there is a lot that I would have liked to have done in 
order to deal with the new tricks, in order to deal with the 
new obstacles, in order to deal with the creative ways by which 
people get together and decide they are going to eliminate the 
ability for some people to vote. But I am not doing that. I am 
not addressing this legislation with any amendment because I 
think it is important to preserve the basic provisions of the 
Voting Rights Act.
    I would ask my friends on the opposite side of the aisle to 
not undo the tremendous cooperation that has taken place in 
order to get this reauthorization bill before us and not to 
attempt to address this issue in this way.
    So I would ask my colleagues to please vote against this 
amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.
    Mr. Gohmert. Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman from Texas, Mr. 
Gohmert.
    Mr. Gohmert. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    First, I rise in support of Mr. King's amendment----
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman is recognized for 5 
minutes.
    Mr. Gohmert.--but I wanted to commend the gentleman from 
New York. It sounds like the inference by Mr. Nadler was that 
he would like to see the Voting Rights Act applied across the 
northeastern States, and I would very much like to see that as 
well. I would like to see it applied all across the country, 
not just to a selected group of States. I think what has been 
good for some States would be good for all the States.
    Mr. Nadler. Would the gentleman yield for a second?
    Mr. Gohmert. Yes, sir.
    Mr. Nadler. It does apply in my city.
    Mr. Gohmert. But I would like to see it all across the 
board, all across the northeast. I don't know if Yiddish would 
be added to the ballots in those situations, but that could 
certainly be looked at.
    But I would just point my friends in the direction of what 
I believe is a subtle form of bigotry that most people don't 
realize that they have engaged in. I have a friend there in 
Tyler, Texas, Gus Ramirez, whose parents both came over from 
Mexico; and they started a restaurant in Tyler. There was a 
rule in the Ramirez house that Mr. Ramirez put in place: None 
of the kids could speak Spanish at home. Mr. Ramirez made the 
point because he said, if you are going to be successful in 
this country, if you are going to have good jobs and do well, 
you need to speak English and you need to speak it well.
    And what I have seen is this encouragement by people who 
intend to be compassionate, they intend well, they want well, 
but they continue to lure people into speaking Spanish for 
their lives, which actually condemns them to have nothing but 
manual labor in most cases for the rest of their lives.
    If we really care, what is more compassionate in the eagle 
world? Is it more compassionate if a mother eagle continues to 
feed the babies for their whole lifetime thinking, oh, how 
terrible it would be to push them out of the nest? Or is it 
more compassionate to have enough strength of heart to push 
them out of the nest and force them to fly?
    I would say it is more compassionate, though tougher, to 
push the eagle babies out, let them fly, let them reach their 
true potential; and I would submit that the subtle form of 
bigotry in luring people to continue to speak Spanish for their 
lifetime ensures that they will not rise to their full 
potential in this country. They could, some of these--they are 
so bright. You talk to these people. They could have any 
position in this country and do it well if they were allowed 
and forced to communicate in the language that would allow them 
to soar.
    So I would support the gentleman's amendment as just one 
small way to help encourage people to reach the true potential 
that people have in this country, and I would yield back.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The question is on agreeing to the 
amendment offered by the gentleman from Iowa.
    Ms. Sanchez. Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentlewoman from California, 
Ms. Sanchez.
    Ms. Sanchez. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I move to strike the 
last word.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentlewoman is recognized for 5 
minutes.
    Ms. Sanchez. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    It is a great opportunity to allow me to set the record 
straight for some of my colleagues who have risen in support of 
this amendment. I want to start by taking exception to the 
comment made by the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Smith, that 
people born in the U.S. should know English.
    Well, it is certainly the case that that would be the goal 
that everybody born in the U.S. would speak English fluently, 
but three-quarters of those who use language assistance at the 
polling place are native-born. And I might remind the gentleman 
that in Arizona there is a school district that is currently 
being fined half a million dollars a day for their failure to 
provide adequate English instruction to the kids.
    So children who are not being taught in our family school 
system and who are being harmed by that would then be double 
harmed at the polling place, because you would yank from them 
the language assistance that would allow them to perhaps be 
fully participating members of society and vote for a regime 
that could probably fix the school systems.
    Number two, I might point out to my colleagues who support 
the King amendment that there is typically a higher level of 
proficiency required to vote in English than there is to pass 
the citizenship test in English. And if you ask me how I know 
that, it is because both of my parents are naturalized 
citizens. My mother is an elementary school teacher, so she is 
very proficient in English. In fact, she teaches it to young 
students. But she often prefers her election materials in 
Spanish because many of the complexities and subtleties of the 
vast ballot initiatives that California sees in every election 
cycle with their double negatives, sometimes triple negative 
languages are very difficult for her to understand.
    So I am offended that people would say that if you can 
speak English well enough to pass a citizenship exam, you don't 
need language assistance at the polls. I think that is false.
    And to Mr. Gohmert, I think you would say you have cited 
one example of an Hispanic family who sought to teach their 
family English. I want to give you another example, which is 
the example of the household I grew up in, where my parents 
said you will learn English in school and we will speak Spanish 
at home and when you grow up you will know both; and I don't 
think that that has kept me or my sister from reaching our full 
potential in this society. It depends on the degree of support 
and it depends on the degree of effort that you are willing to 
make.
    So one size does not fit all here, and I would ask my 
colleagues to please vote against the King amendment. And I 
yield back to the Chairman.
    Ms. Wasserman Schultz. Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentlewoman from Florida, Ms. 
Wasserman Schultz.
    Ms. Wasserman Schultz. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    I rise in opposition to the amendment as well----
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentlewoman is recognized for 5 
minutes.
    Ms. Wasserman Schultz. Thank you, Mr. Chairman--and for a 
number of reasons. Particularly because the gentleman from Iowa 
more than implied but suggested that the reason that we had 
difficulties in Florida in 2000 was possibly because of Section 
203 language requiring ballots be printed in other languages.
    Maybe we should be amending this Voting Rights Act to 
require the supervisors of elections actually speak English. 
Because the real problem that we had in Florida was the 22,000 
African Americans in Duvall County messed up their ballot 
choice because they were instructed to vote every page on the 
Duvall County ballot, and the Presidential election ballot was 
printed on more than one page.
    Additionally, there were 3,500 at least Palm Beach County 
voters who were given the butterfly ballot that was impossible 
to understand and didn't have the Presidential candidates lined 
up properly so that many voters voted for the wrong person 
accidentally.
    So if we are going to start talking about what the problems 
were in 2000, let us be accurate about what those problems 
were.
    Mr. King. Would the gentlelady yield?
    Ms. Wasserman Schultz. I would be happy to yield in a 
minute.
    Additionally, let me point out that it is not just Spanish 
speakers that this ballot language in the Voting Rights Act 
assists. My county, Broward County, is a Section 203 county 
both for Spanish speakers and for Seminole Indians. So are you 
going to suggest to Seminole Indians, who were the first 
Americans, that they should learn English and that the ballot 
should not be printed in their native tongue? I don't think so.
    I would be happy to yield to the gentleman.
    Mr. King. I thank the gentlelady.
    And I would just point out the observation there is 
something that I think we do all agree on universally amongst 
Democrats, Independents, and Republicans with regard to the 
2000 election in Florida; and that is that those who intended 
to vote for Al Gore as opposed to those who intended to vote 
for George Bush had a lot more difficulty with the ballots; and 
I think that is an important observation.
    I thank you, and I yield back.
    Ms. Wasserman Schultz. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, 
the people who had problems voting for Al Gore voted for Pat 
Buchanan instead, not for George Bush, particularly in Palm 
Beach County; and those Jewish senior citizens didn't have 
trouble discerning Spanish from English.
    We need to make sure that we preserve democracy and 
opportunity and the independent secret ballot for all people 
who have become American citizens, whether they were born here 
and English is their first language or whether it is their 
second or their third language.
    Mr. Gohmert. Would the gentlelady yield?
    Ms. Wasserman Schultz. Sure.
    Mr. Gohmert. I was just curious if you realized you could 
really be hurting Pat Buchanan's feelings by your comments to 
say these people didn't really mean to vote for him.
    Ms. Wasserman Schultz. Reclaiming my time, you know, Mr. 
Gohmert, I think that you also probably hurt people's feelings 
by suggesting that in--and I am sure you didn't mean it this 
way--in the nicest way possible that Spanish-speaking people 
are smart. I mean, the implication there might be Spanish-
speaking people who are not smart is potentially insulting, and 
I think we all need to be a little bit more sensitive about the 
language that we use in this Committee.
    Ms. Jackson Lee. Would you yield?
    Ms. Wasserman Schultz. I would be happy to yield.
    Ms. Jackson Lee. May I just add--and, Bill, let me thank 
you very much for really putting this debate in its expanded 
framework. Because so many of us have these personal passions, 
whether it is Florida in the butterfly ballot or the mid-term 
redistricting of Texas. But we are holding these passions so 
that we can move forward in something that is vital to our 
Nation.
    And might I just say, Mr. Gohmert, good friend, that just a 
few weeks ago I stood with an 81-year-old Iranian and a 72-
year-old Iranian and that I don't think their language is 
covered, but they did not speak English. But they took the oath 
of citizenship loving this country, tears in their eyes.
    I think it is just undermining our Constitution to suggest 
that your birthright of citizenship--you work all these years 
to become a citizen, you are of Puerto Rican heritage, you are 
of other heritage, and you tell them because of age or because 
of the fact that they came here as adults but that they that 
have the birthright of citizenship, the same thing that my 
mother had to go through in the State of Florida, born in the 
1920's, speaking the King's English but yet she could not vote, 
her grandmother could not vote, her mother could not vote 
because of the fact of the color of her skin; and, whatever 
English she spoke, these are barriers to voting. This is what 
brings us to our knees in this country. This is the brutality 
that John Lewis experienced.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The time of the woman has expired.
    For what purpose does the gentleman from Florida, Mr. 
Wexler, seek recognition?
    Mr. Wexler. To oppose the amendment.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman is recognized for 5 
minutes.
    Mr. Wexler. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will be brief.
    Just as to Florida--and, quite frankly, I am astonished 
that we are even having this debate. But with all due respect 
to Mr. King, if there is going to be an analysis between those 
voters that chose to vote for President Bush in 2000 and those 
voters that chose to vote for Al Gore in 2000, with respect to 
the discrepancy that existed which I think is self-evident at 
this point, for those voters that chose to vote for President 
Bush it was a rather simple analysis or process. Because if you 
wanted to vote for President Bush, his name was first on the 
ballot, and the bubble that you punch was first. So it was 
logical. If you intend to vote for President Bush, his name was 
first, and the bubble was first.
    However, if your intention, Mr. King, was to vote for Al 
Gore for President, his name was second on the list, but his 
bubble was not second. His bubble was third. Because there was 
another bubble that was second that corresponded to a name on 
another sheet of paper as it appeared on the ballot.
    So with all due respect--and we have had this argument now 
for almost 6 years--it is not apples to apples. And those 
people that chose to vote for President Bush had a very simple 
exercise that was straightforward and in even the most 
elementary of analysis would be easy to perform. For other 
voters, however, it was different.
    As to the issue of the amendment, we are not discussing, 
with all due respect, how families ought to raise their 
children or what the goal should be with respect to how 
families should teach their children English. I think we would 
all agree that the teaching and learning of English is a goal 
that, hopefully, all Americans would pursue with vigor. But 
what we are talking about is voting. We are not talking about 
how we are preparing people for economic life. We are not 
talking about how we are preparing people for the job market.
    Ironically, we have a special law for Cuban Americans which 
I happen to support. The special law that we have for Cuban 
Americans is, if they take the extraordinary courage of fleeing 
the Castro regime and they take an incredibly difficult trip 
across the Florida Straits where a lot of people perish and if 
they physically can get their feet onto the ground in Florida, 
in America, we treat them specially. And I am all for that.
    Now some people have problems with that, but I am all for 
it. Because those people have exercised their great patriotism 
for democracy by taking an enormous risk, and then they get 
special treatment to get citizenship, if they master the 
English language enough to get citizenship, and then probably 
the first thing they are going to want to do is go vote in 
Miami-Dade County.
    And what you are saying in this amendment is, even though 
there are pages and pages of instructions, that if that person 
who took a boat to be an American, that took enormous risks to 
be an American, you are out of luck. If you are proficient 
enough to be an American citizen, pass the citizenship test, 
but now you go to vote and you go to read the amendments to the 
State constitution which are paragraphs long, that are 
complicated, that you don't have the ability to ask for some 
assistance, so the trip you took across the Florida Straits, 
that was for naught. The trip that you took that endangered you 
and your family's life, that was for naught. When you get here, 
sorry, you don't really have full citizenship. You just can't 
really vote because you haven't mastered the English language 
quite proficiently enough so you may not be able to understand 
the entire ballot.
    We are not talking about preparing people for economic 
life. We are talking about having the common decency to respect 
people's integrity so that we assist them to become the most 
engaged citizens that they can be in America as Americans.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Does the gentleman yield back?
    Mr. Wexler. I yield back.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman from California, Mr. 
Schiff.
    Mr. Schiff. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman is recognized for 5 
minutes.
    Mr. Schiff. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    I am proud to join you and Ranking Member Conyers as a co-
sponsor of this important legislation and honored to play a 
small part in the reauthorizing of such historic rights 
legislation. This bill has been responsible--this legislation 
has been responsible for ensuring that minority citizens are 
able to elect representatives of their choice.
    Just over 41 years ago, on March 7, 1965, what became known 
as Bloody Sunday, 600 civil rights marchers peacefully 
protested for the right to vote. Upon reaching the Edmund 
Pettus Bridge, these marchers were attacked by State and local 
law enforcement officers.
    In commemoration of this event, 2 years ago I joined a 
pilgrimage led by our colleague, Congressman John Lewis--and I 
know many of our colleagues have done the same--to the sites of 
the civil rights struggles; and we visited that bridge. 
Standing there then and reflecting on the experience now, I can 
still feel the power yielded by the right to vote, powerful 
enough then to garner the hatred of a mob of segregationists, 
influential enough now to continue to incite debate over the 
legislation before us today.
    A decade since those civil rights activists were beaten 
with billy clubs, sprayed with tear gas in response to their 
demands for the right to vote, discrimination still continues 
to remain in elections across the Nation from California to 
Florida. However, significant progress has been made in the 41 
years since the VRA was first passed. Minority voters have a 
much greater voice today because of the Voting Rights Act. 
Despite that, after every election we all still hear stories of 
voter discrimination and intimidation and realize this remains 
equally important today and we cannot let the temporary 
provisions of the VRA expire. These expiring provisions--pre-
clearance of election law changes, Federal observers at polls, 
and language assistance for limited English speakers--serve to 
deter those seeking to weaken minority voting rights.
    It is evident to those from my home State of California 
just how critical language assistance is for those with limited 
English skills. In this diverse State, 51 of 53 congressional 
districts are subject to language assistance requirements.
    We don't make our elections easy on voters. In a State 
where 135 candidates ran for governor 3 years ago, it should be 
no surprise that during the 2004 general election the 
California voter guidebook was nearly 200 pages. This guide 
includes information on candidates and ballot measures and 
helps voters prepare for the election.
    Looking at the book when it arrived in the mail, I was able 
to predict the stories I would hear from my constituents. But 
it wasn't just those with limited English skills. Countless 
native English speakers shared with me how confusing the voting 
was and how difficult to decipher 200 pages of content in 
preparation for voting. I can only imagine that it would be 
nearly impossible for a voter with limited or no English. Yet 
these citizens, too, have the right to vote. Thankfully, due to 
the VRA in my district, our polling sites provide language 
assistance voters for Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Vietnamese, 
and Latino voters.
    For these various reasons and many others, I oppose the 
amendment of the gentleman; and I support the base bill.
    The right to vote for every American citizen is the 
foundation of our democracy. Unfortunately, there are still 
barriers to overcome; and we as a Nation are not ready yet to 
give up this legislation that defends every American's right to 
vote. For this reason, I am proud to support the Voting Rights 
Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act and will continue to do 
my part to ensure that the VRA remains effective and enforced.
    And, Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
    Mr. Chabot. Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman from Ohio, Mr. 
Chabot.
    Mr. Chabot. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    I move to strike the last word.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman is recognized for 5 
minutes.
    Mr. Chabot. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will be very brief.
    Having chaired the 12 hearings that we had on the Voting 
Rights Act, I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the 
aisle for going through that process and having 40 plus 
witnesses.
    I think that the product that we have come to, H.R. 9, is a 
very carefully crafted product which I intend to support. This 
particular amendment, I have--there are many things about Mr. 
King's--in fact, not just this amendment but his others--which 
I am in sympathy with. I think it is important for us to 
encourage English and emphasize English in this country, and I 
think all people who live here or may want to live here, it is 
critical that they do learn English as quickly as possible.
    That being said, I intend to oppose the amendment because I 
know the Chairman has worked both with the Ranking Member and 
Mr. Watt and other Members to very carefully craft this 
legislation, which I think is very important, to make sure that 
every person does have the opportunity and the right to vote in 
this country, irregardless of skin color. And for, 
unfortunately, quite some period in this country that was not 
the case.
    So, that being said, I will oppose the amendment. But I 
want to thank Mr. King for bringing it up, because I think it 
is important that we do debate this issue. It is a very 
important issue, it is a serious issue, and I think that it is 
one that we as a country really do need to continue to work on.
    With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman from North Carolina, 
Mr. Watt.
    Mr. Watt. I move to strike the last word.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman is recognized for 5 
minutes.
    Mr. Watt. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    I want to bring us back to the amendment, if I can, as we 
approach this vote and encourage my colleagues not to cast a 
vote on the basis of their ideas or beliefs about immigration. 
This really is not about immigration; this is about citizens. 
As the Chairman has indicated, this is not about illegals 
coming into the country. This is about the basic right of 
people who are citizens in this country to cast a vote that 
they understand.
    I have two bases for opposing the amendment. First is the 
earlier statement that I made about reaching a balanced bill, 
working through these issues with the Chairman. I would have to 
admit, if I got everything I wanted in this bill, we would have 
had a lowering of the threshold for allowing people to cast, to 
take advantage of the provisions of this bill, section 203. But 
that is not what this is about. I think it is balanced to 
extend the existing provisions that already apply in the Voting 
Rights Act now, and that is what this bill does.
    But my opposition to this amendment is more basic than just 
preserving the balance and making sure that we don't blow up 
the Voting Rights Act around the issue of immigration. It is 
more basic than that. Because on my wall at home in North 
Carolina I have framed the first ballot that was cast by the 
people of South Africa, and it keeps reminding me that the 
folks in South Africa were allowed to vote. We were their model 
for democracy, but they showed us some things about democracy.
    They showed us, first of all, that no registration was 
required, because people stood in lines and showed up to vote 
not even having registered to vote.
    That ballot shows us, second of all, that the extent to 
which they went to allow people to cast a meaningful vote, they 
put photographs on that ballot for people who couldn't read a 
lick so that they would know who the candidates were that they 
were casting a ballot for.
    So, for many, this is not about immigration or lack of 
immigration. It is about the basic right to cast a vote in a 
democracy; and we shouldn't be doing anything, in my opinion, 
to deprive people, citizens--not illegals, citizens--of the 
right to cast a meaningful vote.
    It is in that context that I encourage my colleagues to put 
aside all of these things about Florida and about the 
immigration debate and about even, with all respect to Mr. 
Wexler, all the preferences we give to Cubans and this and 
that, and focus in this vote on how we can make it meaningful 
for people, citizens of this country, to cast a vote, the most 
basic, basic right that one can have in a democracy such as 
ours. And let us restore, let us keep restoring the United 
States to be the gold standard of democracy in the world.
    With that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my 
time.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The question is on the amendment 
offered by the gentleman from Iowa, Mr. King. Those in favor of 
the amendment will say aye; opposed, no.
    The noes appear to have it.
    Mr. King. Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman from Iowa.
    Mr. King. I ask for a recorded vote.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. A recorded vote is ordered. Those 
in favor of the King amendment will, as your names are called, 
answer aye; those opposed, no. And the clerk will call the 
role.
    The Clerk. Mr. Hyde.
    Mr. Hyde. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Hyde, no.
    Mr. Coble.
    Mr. Coble. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Coble, aye.
    Mr. Smith.
    Mr. Smith. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Smith, aye.
    Mr. Gallegly.
    Mr. Gallegly. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Gallegly, aye.
    Mr. Goodlatte.
    [no response.]
    The Clerk.Mr. Chabot.
    Mr. Chabot. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Chabot, no.
    Mr. Lungren.
    Mr. Lungren. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Lungren, no.
    Mr. Jenkins.
    Mr. Jenkins. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Jenkins, aye.
    Mr. Cannon.
    Mr. Cannon. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Cannon, aye.
    Mr. Bachus.
    [no response.]
    The Clerk. Mr. Inglis.
    [no response.]
    The Clerk. Mr. Hostettler.
    Mr. Hostettler. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Hostettler, aye.
    Mr. Green.
    Mr. Green. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Green, no.
    Mr. Keller.
    Mr. Keller. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Keller, no.
    Mr. Issa.
    Mr. Issa. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Issa, no.
    Mr. Flake.
    Mr. Flake. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Flake, no.
    Mr. Pence.
    Mr. Pence. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Pence, no.
    Mr. Forbes.
    Mr. Forbes. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Forbes, no.
    Mr. King.
    Mr. King. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. King, aye.
    Mr. Feeney.
    Mr. Feeney. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Feeney, no.
    Mr. Franks.
    Mr. Franks. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Franks, aye.
    Mr. Gohmert.
    Mr. Gohmert. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Gohmert, aye.
    Mr. Conyers.
    Mr. Conyers. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Conyers, no.
    Mr. Berman.
    Mr. Berman. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Berman, no.
    Mr. Boucher.
    [no response.]
    The Clerk. Mr. Nadler.
    Mr. Nadler. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Nadler, no.
    Mr. Scott.
    Mr. Scott. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Scott, no.
    Mr. Watt.
    Mr. Watt. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Watt, no.
    Ms. Lofgren.
    Ms. Lofgren. No.
    The Clerk. Ms. Lofgren, no.
    Ms. Jackson Lee.
    Ms. Jackson Lee. No.
    The Clerk. Ms. Jackson Lee, no.
    Ms. Waters.
    Ms. Waters. No.
    The Clerk. Ms. Waters, no.
    Mr. Meehan.
    Mr. Meehan. [no response.]
    The Clerk. Mr. Delahunt.
    Mr. Delahunt. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Delahunt, no.
    Mr. Wexler.
    Mr. Wexler. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Wexler, no.
    Mr. Weiner.
    Mr. Weiner. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Weiner, no.
    Mr. Schiff.
    Mr. Schiff. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Schiff, no.
    Ms. Sanchez.
    Ms. Sanchez. No.
    The Clerk. Ms. Sanchez, no.
    Mr. Van Hollen.
    Mr. Van Hollen. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Van Hollen, no.
    Ms. Wasserman Schultz.
    Ms. Wasserman Schultz. No.
    The Clerk. Ms. Wasserman Schultz, no.
    Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Chairman, no.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Further Members who wish to cast or 
change their votes?
    If not, the clerk will report.
    The Clerk. Mr. Chairman, there are nine ayes and 26 nays.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. And the amendment is not agreed to.
    Are there further amendments?
    Mr. Lungren. Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman from California, Mr. 
Lungren.
    Mr. Lungren. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The clerk will report the 
amendment.
    The Clerk. Amendment to H.R. 9 offered by Mr. Daniel E. 
Lungren of California.
    Add at the end the following:
    Section blank. Elimination of certain requirements for 
counties where requirements were imposed because of the 
presence of large Federal military installations.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Without objection, the amendment is 
considered as read.
    [The amendment follows:]
      
      

  


      
      

  


      
      

  


    Mr. Watt. Mr. Chairman, I reserve a point of order.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman is recognized.
    Mr. Watt. I reserve a point of order.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. A point of order, subject to the 
reservation.
    The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
    Mr. Lungren. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the base bill. There are 
a few of us who were back here in 1982 when we had an extension 
of the law that was an historic extension; and the previous 
Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Hyde, was largely given credit 
at that time for holding the hearings as the Chairman of the 
Subcommittee and bringing to the attention of the American 
people the need for extending this law.
    I was very proud to work with Mr. Hyde; with the current 
Chairman, Mr. Sensenbrenner; with our Ranking Member, Mr. 
Conyers; and I was pleased to work with Mr. Conyers on the 
establishment of the Martin Luther King holiday. Those are some 
of my proudest moments here in the House.
    At the same time, Mr. Chairman, it seems to me extremely 
important for us to understand that we ought to take a look at 
some sections of the law to ensure that they are doing what 
they were intended to do.
    In enacting the Voting Rights Act of 1985 and in extending 
it, Congress intended that the Act's special provisions operate 
against jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination. 
I don't believe it ever intended for these provisions to 
penalize jurisdictions because they house the Nation's Armed 
Forces during a time of armed conflict. Yet that very thing 
occurred in certain small jurisdictions in my State, Merced 
County, Kings County, Yuba County in California, where U.S. 
military bases constituted a substantial portion of the 
county's resident population but where the voter turnout 
narrowly fell below the 50 percent rule because military 
personnel often voted in their home States by absentee ballot.
    For example, 49.6 percent of the estimated voting age 
population in Merced County voted in the 1972 Presidential 
election. If the participation of military personnel, their 
spouses and dependents eligible to vote but who voted in their 
other States were excluded, Merced's participation would easily 
have exceeded 50 percent; and the county would not ever have 
been covered under section 5 in the first instance.
    I believe that coverage of these counties was an unintended 
consequence of the formula's statement in neutral terms and 
almost certainly was not anticipated nor desired by Congress. 
This amendment simply gives relief to those jurisdictions 
accidentally swept into coverage. It requires these 
jurisdictions not to be in a State which is covered but only in 
a subdivision of a State, such as is the case here, that they 
were in as a result of the presence of military bases with 
their military populations and that they have had no violation 
under the Voting Rights Act under the jurisdiction of the 
counties involved over the last 10 years.
    I think it is important to correct this application of 
jurisdictions covered by reason of a substantial military 
presence because Congress would address a constitutional 
vulnerability of any extension.
    Numerous parties have expressed concerns about the ability 
of any legislation extending the special provisions of the 
Voting Rights Act to survive constitutional scrutiny in light 
of the Supreme Court's recent jurisprudence restricting power 
under section 5 of the 14th amendment. That case law requires 
Congress to establish that any remedial legislation under that 
section be, quote, congruent and proportional to the harms 
Congress seeks to remedy by its enactment, in this case, 
actions of specific jurisdictions with a history of intentional 
discrimination in voting and artifice to avoid changing 
discriminatory practices.
    Permitting jurisdictions to exit coverage when they can 
establish they are only subjected to section 5 coverage because 
of a substantial military presence further tailors the 
provisions to the evils sought to be remedied and makes it more 
congruent and proportional to the harms to be addressed.
    My amendment does not grant an automatic exemption. 
Counties would have to initiate a court proceeding in the court 
most experienced with these matters, the United States District 
Court for the District of Columbia, in order to exit coverage.
    Secondly, the burden of establishing the right to exemption 
is on the jurisdiction.
    Third, parties who have been subject to an objection in the 
past 10 years may not be granted this exit coverage under this 
provision.
    And, fourth, I would repeat, the way we have drafted this, 
it does not apply to covered States or subjurisdictions covered 
as a result of State coverage. This only involves those 
jurisdictions that were placed in under that special section--
--
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman's has expired.
    Mr. Lungren.--and only those who were covered as a result 
of the military presence.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Does the gentleman from North 
Carolina insist on his point of order?
    Mr. Watt. No, Mr. Chairman, I withdraw the point of order.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The point of order is withdrawn.
    For what purpose does the gentleman from North Carolina 
seek recognition?
    Mr. Watt. I move to strike the last word.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman is recognized for 5 
minutes.
    Mr. Watt. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this 
amendment.
    The Voting Rights Act currently provides a mechanism for 
covered jurisdictions to get out from under the provisions of 
the pre-clearance section. Under the section 4(a) bailout 
criteria, jurisdiction may be removed from coverage and no 
longer subject to pre-clearance if it demonstrates, one, that 
it has been in full compliance with the pre-clearance 
requirements for the past 10 years; two, that no test or device 
has been used to discriminate on the basis of race, color, or 
language minority status; and, three, no lawsuits against the 
jurisdiction alleging voting discrimination are pending.
    This amendment would drastically reduce those standards to 
apply to a small category of counties in an otherwise 
noncovered State where the presence of a military base within 
its borders presumably caused the low voter turnout statistics 
that brought the area under the coverage of the Voting Rights 
Act.
    There are a number of concerns I have about the amendment.
    The amendment, first of all, makes arbitrary distinctions 
for eligibility. It applies only to counties in noncovered 
States that had military bases at the time they were brought 
under coverage. But if a military installation artificially 
inflated or deflated turnout numbers, it would have done so in 
States fully covered by section 5 as well.
    Second, the amendment would apply only to those counties 
whose military account allegedly affected coverage 
determinations made in 1968 and 1972. We don't have a clue how 
many other counties would be eligible other than the counties 
that were referenced here, and no record has been developed on 
this because this is something that came up after the hearings 
took place, after this discussion took place.
    Third, the amendment would apply only to military 
installations; and this ignores other institutions that could 
also arguably skew turnout data, most notably college campuses. 
Jails and prison populations could arguably be included also. I 
mean, there are a number of things that could have impact on 
the criteria that bring you under the act.
    Fourth, the amendment presumes the entire population of the 
military installation consisted of either nonresidents of the 
county or individuals who were not properly registered in that 
county. Transient populations like students and military 
personnel often changed their residency for voting purposes. So 
it is unclear whether we can factually determine who was and 
who wasn't properly included in the population count in these 
jurisdictions.
    Next, the only factual evidence in the record is 
submissions from lawyers; and you know how lawyers try to skew 
things. They always are going to be advocating for their 
clients in a way. What is so sinister about this is if they 
would just go and apply through the regular bailout process, 
they could do this through a court of law if they met the 
existing criteria, rather than sought some preferential 
judicial determination with no factual records having been 
developed.
    Most important, there is evidence that counties made 
eligible under this amendment have independent political 
entities within their geographical boundaries that do have 
recent or current evidence of discrimination or failure to 
comply with section 5. You have got water boards that fall 
under these counties, school boards that fall under these 
counties. So I just don't--I think this is a back-door attempt 
to circumvent the existing bailout requirements.
    If we are going to do anything, I would hope the gentleman 
would consider maybe doing something similar to what Mr. Issa 
proposed. If there is a problem here, we might be able to 
document it if we had a study done of it and we could deal with 
this in the future. But to try to do this in this context is 
going to destroy the balance that we have worked out here and 
do so really without having the factual basis, the record basis 
that we need to justify doing so.
    With that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
    Mr. Goodlatte. [presiding.] The time of the gentleman has 
expired.
    The gentleman from Tennessee, Mr. Jenkins, is recognized 
for 5 minutes.
    Mr. Jenkins. Mr. Chairman, I yield to gentleman from 
California.
    Mr. Lungren. Mr. Chairman, just in response to the points 
made by the gentleman from North Carolina, first of all, this 
is hardly a back-door way. This is very upfront about what I am 
attempting to do.
    Mr. Watt. I apologize.
    Mr. Lungren. Secondly, to criticize it for being 
restrictive, I restricted it because we have a special set of 
circumstances.
    Third, to suggest that population bases as a result of our 
military people are somehow equivalent to population bases of 
our prison population, frankly, I think is a distortion of 
values in this country. Our military people are serving this 
Nation and giving us sacrifices in ways virtually no one else 
does, and the fact that a county has welcomed the presence of 
military bases it seems to me should not be used to punish 
those counties.
    Fourth, if the gentleman was asking about gaming 
statistics, we had 30 years worth of statistics on this. If the 
gentleman is concerned about any other entities that might be 
eligible under this provision, there is one other. In the State 
of New Hampshire, Rockingham County, Newington Township would 
also be able to avail itself of this if they wished. I have not 
been in contact with them, so I have no idea if they would 
avail themselves of this.
    The gentleman asked why the current bailout provisions are 
not sufficient. Well, the bailout provisions, as most recently 
amended in 1982, held the covered jurisdictions responsible for 
compliance by the political subdivisions within their borders 
based on the premise that they controlled those political 
subdivisions. And while that premise is essentially true in 
Virginia and most of the other covered States, it is not true 
in California. Merced and Yuba County are held responsible 
under the gentleman's suggestion for the compliance of numerous 
special districts which are State rather than county agencies. 
They are beyond the county control. And the compliance of 
cities, which, unlike the case of most covered States, they are 
granted constitutional home rule powers.
    So here we have the State of California, which is not a 
covered State; and the subdivisions of that State are water 
districts and the other things the gentleman said, have the 
same legal bases as the counties do. This has brought counties 
under the coverage.
    My amendment would say those counties which are subject to 
coverage right now because of the presence of military 
installations would have to show that they have not done 
anything in violation of the law in the last 10 years, either 
by a finding of the court or by a rejection of a proposal of an 
electoral law change by the Justice Department.
    So this is a case where California is not covered. Counties 
are covered by this quirk in the law application because of the 
presence of military installations and being held responsible 
for jurisdictions over which they have no control. Arguably, 
those water districts and others are not covered because they 
are entities of the State, not entities of the county.
    I would just say to the gentleman there is no evidence 
whatsoever that these counties have done anything in terms of 
their law changes that is in violation of the Voting Rights 
Act. Again, I am saying adoption of this amendment in my 
judgment assists us in being able to show the courts that we 
have done the careful kind of analysis necessary to support the 
continuation of this law. Because the Voting Rights Act is an 
exceptional act in response to exceptional circumstances, and 
in the absence of exceptional circumstances I think the 
jurisprudence of the Supreme Court is that you don't have a 
foundation for continuing----
    Mr. Watt. Would the gentleman yield on that point?
    Mr. Lungren. It is not my time.
    Mr. Watt. Mr. Jenkins, would the yield?
    Mr. Jenkins. I will yield.
    Mr. Watt. Just so I can make the point that, had the 
gentleman made the record during the hearings, what he is 
saying might be true. But here in this debate we are not making 
a record. There is no factual record being made. This is a 
markup. So the gentleman--if the gentleman were going to do 
this, we should have made a record about it at the appropriate 
time, not just kind of ex parte statements.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The time of the gentleman from 
Tennessee has expired.
    For what purpose does the gentleman from California, Mr. 
Berman, seek recognition?
    Mr. Berman. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman is recognized for 5 
minutes.
    Mr. Berman. Mr. Chairman, initially on my time I would like 
to ask the sponsor of the amendment: There are four counties in 
California that are section 5 counties. The discussion here 
only makes reference to three of them.
    Mr. Lungren. Yes.
    Mr. Berman. Is there a reason why Monterey County is not 
included in it?
    Mr. Lungren. Because Monterey County has had a violation or 
a rejection of a request for a change by the Justice Department 
within the last 10 years. So it would not be able to apply to 
this at this present time.
    Mr. Watt. Would the gentleman yield so I can tell him also 
that they are----
    Mr. Berman. I would be happy to yield. 
    Mr. Watt. There are boards under these counties that have 
had violations, also. So I don't know how Monterey would be 
distinguishable on that basis, because there is a water board 
that has had a violation. And, notwithstanding what the 
gentleman says, there is nothing that suggests that those water 
boards and school boards are independent of the counties under 
the Voting Rights Act.
    Mr. Lungren. Would the gentleman yield on that point?
    Mr. Berman. Yes.
    Mr. Lungren. The California constitution is the authority 
for that. Counties have no control whatsoever with those 
boards. They are independent boards, and in some cases those 
boards actually go across county lines. They are not even 
exactly geographically the same as the counties.
    Mr. Berman. Well, okay. I would like to ask the gentleman 
to consider delaying the offering of this amendment until we 
get to the floor, assuming there is an opportunity on the floor 
if this comes up under a rule. The reason I do it is I don't 
think this is a malicious amendment in any way. But I think, as 
the gentleman from North Carolina has mentioned, there are a 
number of questions I would like to have answered before I 
could vote for the amendment.
    First of all, I don't totally understand the gentleman's 
answer to the question of why the existing bailout criteria 
wouldn't apply. As I understand it, have they been in full 
compliance with the pre-clearance requirements for the past 10 
years?
    Even conceding--and I think you are probably right--that 
the presence of those military bases may have been part of why 
those counties were considered section 5 counties originally, 
have they been in full compliance with the pre-clearance 
requirement for the last 10 years? Is there any test or device 
that has been used in those jurisdictions to discriminate on 
the basis of race, color or language, minority status? And are 
there pending lawsuits alleging voter discrimination? If those 
are the criteria, they seem pretty straightforward. And have 
these counties applied to get out of the section 5 pre-
clearance provisions using those criteria? I didn't quite 
understand the gentleman's answer to that.
    Mr. Lungren. If the gentleman would yield, I could try to 
respond to that.
    Mr. Berman. If I could have an additional 2 minutes, I 
would be happy to yield.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Without objection.
    Mr. Berman. I yield.
    Mr. Lungren. The problem is the way that the provision 
currently works in the bailout provision the county is held 
responsible for those jurisdictions that are in part or in 
total in their geographic area.
    As the gentleman knows, in California we have 58 counties; 
yet we have 2,830 special districts. They are creations under 
the California constitution of the State, not the county. They 
are independent of the county. So while the county has no legal 
ability to control how those districts operate, they are held 
responsible for purposes of bailout for that, even though they 
don't control it.
    Mr. Berman. All right. I appreciate that.
    Mr. Watt. Would the gentleman yield?
    Mr. Berman. I would be happy to yield.
    Mr. Watt. I want you all to understand what the gentleman 
is saying. He is saying, on the one hand, that the county has 
no control over these jurisdictions; and he is saying, on the 
other hand, that the voting rights law, if they apply to 
bailout, they do have control over them, they are presumed to 
have control over them. So, I mean, heis having his cake and 
eating it, too.
    Mr. Berman. Just reclaiming my time. Then one could propose 
that a different amendment, an amendment which said that 
section 5 counties can't be asked, changes in the nature of the 
way the criteria worked to say that if you have no control over 
the jurisdiction which has been engaged in this, then that 
can't be used as a basis for denying you the bailout. It would 
be a different kind of an approach than this amendment takes.
    Mr. Watt. If the gentleman would yield, and that goes back 
to the point I was trying to make. This is so muddy and complex 
that it is the kind of thing that I think would be the proper 
subject for a study of some kind to clarify. But to try to do 
it in the context of this markup I think is a mistake.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Would the gentleman from California 
yield?
    Mr. Berman. I would be happy to yield.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. I guess the question that is really 
relevant is for these subdistricts--and I believe that there is 
a water district that is in question--who handles the voter 
registration in the conduct of the elections for these 
independent districts? Because if the independent districts do 
it themselves, you know, then I think there is a way that the 
county, which is kind of an innocent third party, should be 
allowed to opt out. However, if the county handles the voter 
registration----
    Mr. Berman. The county does handle the voter registration.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner.--and pays for the election judges 
and perhaps prints the ballots, you know, then the county is I 
guess kind of acting as the agent for the local district; and 
if there is discrimination, it would be imputed to the agent 
and section 5 should apply.
    Mr. Berman. I would ask unanimous consent for 2 additional 
minutes.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Without objection.
    Mr. Berman. Reclaiming my time, it gets complicated, which 
again points out what the gentleman from North Carolina is 
saying. Clearly, the county is in charge of voter registration. 
But on the issue of these water districts, who pays for the 
election and who determines the policies which could be seen to 
discriminate in violation of law, may be less clear. It seems 
like something we need to have a better answer to, who conducts 
the elections. When the City of Los Angeles has an election, it 
is inside L.A. County. The registration roles are those of the 
County, but the election is conducted and paid for by the City.
    So I guess the answer to your points is, in some cases, the 
county is in control and, in some cases, they are not. We ought 
to know the answer to that.
    I guess the final reason I would ask you to consider 
deferring consideration of this amendment, again even though 
I--I mean, I might point out two things perhaps somewhat 
whimsically. Based on my experience, counties would much rather 
have military bases than prisons. So this notion of what 
counties want is I think maybe a little different than the way 
you indicated.
    Secondly, given the gentleman's passionate belief in 
reforming the redistricting process, I would have thought that 
his amendment would be to cover all of California under the 
Voting Rights Act to require--since the one effect of those 
four counties being section 5 counties is there is no effort to 
sever those counties and draw strange and slicing kinds of 
districts through those counties because they are under section 
5. So you are working against your redistricting beliefs by 
your amendment.
    But the point I wanted to make was these three counties are 
in other Members' congressional districts. There are three 
boards of supervisors in these counties. I don't know what 
those Members think of this, and I don't know what--oneis a 
Republican, and two are Democrats--and I don't know what the 
boards of supervisors of the counties think. That is the reason 
why I think a little more time--if there is a way to create a 
record through a quick study to answer some of these questions, 
I would ask the gentleman to consider delaying the vote on it.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The time of the gentleman has 
expired, and the Chair recognizes himself for 5 minutes to 
strike the last word.
    I believe that the gentleman from California, Mr. Berman, 
makes a very valid point.
    First of all, there has been at least one violation in one 
of the three counties involved. I guess we don't know who the 
guilty party is, whether it is the county or whether it is the 
local subdistrict or whether it is a combination of the two. It 
seems to me that, before passing an amendment which effectively 
is a get-out-of-jail card, we ought to look into this issue and 
pinpoint the responsibility. Because it seems to me that the 
level of Government or the agency of Government that was 
responsible for the violation should not be given such a get-
out-of-jail card.
    The other thing--and I keep on coming back to this--is that 
the Voting Rights Act was upheld as constitutional three times 
by the Supreme Court based upon a showing that Federal 
intervention was necessary. Now there has been Federal 
intervention deemed to be necessary up until now. If Federal 
intervention was not necessary, then the amendment that the 
gentleman from California, Mr. Lungren, is offering would be 
redundant and would not have any type of an effect.
    I am really very hesitant to go ahead without the type of 
record to show that a change in the law is necessary that has 
been done extensively by Mr. Chabot and his Subcommittee to the 
tune of 40 witnesses and about 8,800 pages of record that is in 
evidence. So while I agree with Mr. Berman that this amendment 
is not a malicious amendment to the legislation, it seems to me 
that we ought to be a little bit more precise in knowing what 
we are doing before going ahead and adopting it.
    Mr. Conyers. Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. I yield to the gentleman from 
Michigan.
    Mr. Conyers. I think I can save time by coming in now, 
because this may be the last major amendment, and I still have 
hopes that we can beat the clock and report this bill before 
the voting commences.
    Let me point out that I share the understanding that Mr. 
Lungren has about this. But after a dozen hearings--I said 10 
at first--we have a suspicion that there are many other 
jurisdictions that might be in the same fix as the gentleman's 
issue about the section 5 counties in California. For that 
reason and the fact that we did not take this up, we have gone 
through section 5, the trigger pre-clearance bailout, time 
after time after time over these weeks and months; and this is 
a far too complex matter for us to resolve here, especially 
since we have the unusual cooperation of the other body with an 
identical proposal.
    Now I think a study to this would be a much better way. The 
gentleman from California Mr. Berman has suggested it. I think 
the gentleman from North Carolina has.
    Let us not muddy the waters. Let us remember that this is a 
huge measure. We have got a head of steam going. I would urge 
that the gentleman consider withdrawing the amendment or we 
dispose of it so that we can report a bill on today, May the 
10th.
    And I thank the gentleman for yielding.
    Ms. Jackson Lee. Does the gentleman yield.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. For what purpose does the gentleman 
from Virginia, Mr. Scott, seek recognition?
    Mr. Scott. Move to strike the last word.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman is recognized for 5 
minutes.
    Mr. Scott. Mr. Chairman, thank you for having the hearings. 
There is a reason to having hearings. As has been pointed out, 
we don't know how many different counties may be affected. 
There is no record on either the need or the effect, but there 
is a record on the bail-out provision which was uncontradicted 
testimony that it is easy to bail out if you qualify. In fact, 
there is nothing in the record to suggest that this process is 
even easier than the present process. This might be even more 
complicated.
    It has been pointed out that the effect of this would be to 
allow a county to get out and in effect to also let those who 
actually earned coverage within the county to also get out.
    So, Mr. Chairman, this is a last minute amendment. We can't 
carefully analyze it because there is nothing in the record. It 
adds a complication to the bill. And there is nothing in the 
record to demonstrate whether there is need or whether it will 
have the desired effect. I would hope we would therefore, Mr. 
Chairman, defeat the amendment.
    I would yield to the gentlelady.
    Ms. Jackson Lee. I wanted to add to the distinguished 
gentleman's comments. I would ask my good friend from 
California to try the bail-out provision and accept the 
compromise offered by Mr. Conyers which is to prospectively 
look at relief if the bail-out provision does not work, and 
then we have a basis of moving forward because there may be 
many similarly situated. But the bail-out provision is there. 
It is to be utilized, and I would urge my colleague to withdraw 
the amendment. I yield back.
    Mr. Scott. Yield back.
    Mr. Cannon. Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman from Utah, Mr. 
Cannon.
    Mr. Cannon. I move to strike the requisite number of words.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman is recognized for 5 
minutes.
    Mr. Cannon. I am pleased to yield to the gentleman from 
California.
    Mr. Lungren. I find some of this debate interesting. On 
behalf of several of the counties in California, submission was 
made to the Committee on November 4th of last year. We have 
been in discussion with Members on the other side of the aisle 
on this for at least a week on the language that it has 
presented.
    I appreciate the fact we want to get this bill through. I 
support this. I supported it in 1982. I support it now. But 
this is a 25-year extension, and the idea that somehow these 
three counties should wait until the next time around doesn't 
seem to be reasonable to me. I can't help that the hearings 
weren't held on this when submission was made last November. I 
didn't decide what the hearings were going to be.
    I have every single county that is covered under this 
section in a non-covered State. The non-covered States are 
California, Florida, New York, North Carolina, South Dakota, 
Michigan, New Hampshire. I have the number of military bases 
involved there. I have the period of coverage.
    I would say that the records show that there is one other 
jurisdiction in the entire country, and that is Newington in 
Rockingham County in the State of New Hampshire. And I would 
say that there have been no objections affecting it.
    I would just say, again, to clear up the record, under 
California law and the California constitution, the county has 
no control over the activity of the governing boards of the 
entities described. Several of them cover more than one county, 
such as the Central California Irrigation District and San 
Louis Water District. Many of the districts are authorized by 
California law to conduct their own elections, and some do. And 
yet what I am saying, the county is held responsible to 
compliance or non-compliance when we look at the bail-out 
provision.
    Again, I would tell you those other districts are political 
subdivisions of the State of California, which is not a covered 
jurisdiction, so they are in a catch-22 situation is what they 
are in.
    What is to stop us from, when we get to the floor, being 
told that we can't consider any amendments at that time because 
this is a carefully crafted vehicle that we can't deal with?
    Mr. Berman. Would the gentleman yield?
    Mr. Lungren. Be happy to yield.
    Mr. Cannon. The time being mine.
    Mr. Berman. Thank you.
    Understanding better the relationship of these special 
districts, your general proposition of rights. Even your own 
sentence said some special districts run their own elections; 
some are run by the counties. It is a big thing to do, and it 
is a big thing not to do, and just seems to me that if there is 
no fundamental underlying policy reason to hold three random 
counties under section 5 when the other counties in California 
aren't and where maybe in fact there may be more serious 
problems of voter access in some of those other counties, it 
makes sense to clean that up.
    But there are two different ways to clean it up and some 
information to get. I do think it is appropriate to know--I 
didn't know about this amendment until last night when you told 
me about this amendment. I didn't know that the counties have 
submitted something. I would like to know what my colleagues 
from the areas think, and I would like to understand better 
just what the nature of these, quote, water district violations 
are and the extent to which the county is truly unable to 
impact on them because in the end, those water districts if 
they aren't still voting based on how much land you own, if 
they aren't voting that way, if they are voting by people, 
there are people from rolls that the counties are in charge of.
    So it is just getting--in other words, this isn't--I am not 
suggesting this is a trap to keep you from having a chance for 
the next 25 years. I am suggesting that I think there is 
something to what you are saying, but I can't vote for it until 
I get at least some answers to these questions.
    Mr. Cannon. Yield back to the gentleman from California.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman's time has expired.
    Mr. Lungren. Mr. Chairman, I request unanimous consent for 
2 additional minutes.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Without objection.
    Mr. Cannon. I am pleased to yield to the gentleman from 
California.
    Mr. Lungren. If Mr. Berman would--if he's saying he is 
willing to work with me to see if we can actually achieve 
something that would be brought, if we are allowed, to the 
floor as a solution to this problem, I would be happy to 
entertain that and work with the gentleman.
    My purpose is not to make some sort of statement here, I am 
trying to clear up something that I think makes some sense and 
is consistent with what we want to do with this extension. And 
if the gentleman will agree to work with me on that, I would be 
willing to withdraw the amendment at this time.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Is the gentleman withdrawing the 
amendment?
    Mr. Lungren. I ask unanimous consent.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Without objection.
    Are there further amendments?
    The gentleman from Iowa, Mr. King.
    Mr. King. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Clerk will report the amendment.
    Mr. King. Number 110.
    The Clerk. Amendment to H.R. 9 offered by Mr. King of Iowa, 
page 12, line 7, strike 2032 and insert 2013. Page 12, 
beginning in line 13 strike subsequent and all that follows 
through increments in line 14.
    [The amendment follows:]
      
      

  


    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman is recognized for 5 
minutes.
    Mr. King. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This amendment, 
amendment 110, is a very simple amendment and the subject has 
been brought up here in the discussion on the debate on this 
bill, and I think the intensity of the debate we have had, and 
I would like to compliment my colleagues on the breadth of 
their knowledge and the depth of the debate and the intensity 
that is here. It tells us a lot about how important this 
reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act is.
    And what my amendment does is it strikes the 25-year period 
of time for reauthorization for the sunset and sets it at a 6-
year time. It takes us up to 2013, and it is designed to get us 
through the next census and through the election subsequent to 
the redistricting and of the census in 2010 so that we have an 
opportunity to see the effect of the reauthorization.
    There are so many unknowns in there, and there is certainly 
a significant amount of disagreement on how this policy plays 
out. There is no provision in this legislation that allows for 
a covered district to become an uncovered district, if I could 
coin that term, and we will have, if this is authorized for 25 
more years, we will have then had established multilingual 
balance for 56 years in this country, the majority of the 
century. And by Thomas Jefferson's term of 19 years per 
generation, we will be approaching three and a half 
generations, perhaps. So that is the scope of this.
    I would say if we proceed with 25 years, it will 
institutionalize multilingual balance, and I believe that we 
should stop and take a look at it far more quickly than that, 
and I would ask for support on this amendment that will allow 
us--Members of this Committee, many will still be here 
hopefully in 2013, but by 2032, it is unlikely any of us will 
be here, and the institutional knowledge will have passed from 
this Judiciary Committee and from the Congress, and the 
institutionalization of multilingual ballots will have been 
established, probably never to be reconsidered again in a 
serious way, and I would again urge support for this simple 
amendment.
    Yield back the balance of my time.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The chair recognizes himself in 
opposition to the amendment.
    What the gentleman from Iowa proposes to do is to shorten 
the length of time for this reauthorization. The 25-year 
reauthorization that was passed in 1982 has worked well. This 
Committee has done oversight during the entire 25-year period 
of time as to how the Voting Rights Act has operated, and the 
conclusion was reached that discrimination has not gone away, 
and that another 25 years reauthorization is proper.
    I am confident that whomever sits in this chair for the 
next 25 years will continue to do reauthorization of this, the 
most important of all of the important Civil Rights Acts that 
have passed. Shortening the period of time to a mere 6-year 
reauthorization I think is a hostile amendment.
    I respect the gentleman from Iowa's position on this, but I 
don't think that this Committee should be continuously 
reauthorizing, particularly in light of the fact we have had a 
10-year reauthorization and a 25-year reauthorization and 
neither appeared to be too short a period of time.
    Mr. Conyers. Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. I yield to the gentleman from 
Michigan.
    Mr. Conyers. Could I remind our Members that throughout a 
dozen hearings there has been no discussion about reducing the 
25-year period? I think to cut it to 6 years would actually be 
stepping on a lot of testimony that has demonstrated that there 
are plenty of problems like you say that are out there. And so 
I plead with this Committee not to tamper with the 25-year 
period, which has worked pretty well. The former Justice Sandra 
Day O'Connor referenced it. And I think that it is a perfectly 
excellent way to continue.
    Mr. King. Would the gentleman yield?
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. I yield to the gentleman from Iowa.
    Mr. King. I thank the Chairman.
    I wanted to point out for point of clarification that this 
amendment only addresses the bilingual balance section of the 
bill. It doesn't affect any other section of the bill.
    I thank you and yield back.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. I yield back the balance of my 
time.
    The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman 
from Iowa, Mr. King. Those in favor will say aye. Opposed, no.
    Mr. King. No.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Noes appear to have it.
    Mr. King. Mr. Chairman, I would ask for a recorded vote.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Recorded vote is ordered on the 
King amendment. Those in favor of the King amendment will, as 
your name is called, answer aye; those opposed, no. The Clerk 
will call the role.
    The Clerk. Mr. Hyde?
    [No response.]
    The Clerk. Mr. Coble.
    Mr. Coble. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Coble, aye.
    Mr. Smith?
    Mr. Smith. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Smith, aye.
    Mr. Gallegly?
    [No response.]
    The Clerk. Mr. Goodlatte?
    Mr. Goodlatte. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Goodlatte, aye.
    Mr. Chabot?
    Mr. Chabot. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Chabot, no.
    Mr. Lungren?
    Mr. Lungren. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Lungren, aye.
    Mr. Jenkins?
    Mr. Jenkins. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Jenkins, aye.
    Mr. Cannon?
    Mr. Cannon. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Cannon, no.
    Mr. Bachus?
    [No response.]
    The Clerk. Mr. Inglis?
    Mr. Inglis. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Inglis, aye.
    Mr. Hostettler?
    Mr. Hostettler. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Hostettler, aye.
    Mr. Green?
    Mr. Green. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Green, no.
    Mr. Keller?
    Mr. Keller. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Keller, no.
    Mr. Issa?
    [No response.]
    The Clerk. Mr. Flake?
    [No response.]
    The Clerk. Mr. Pence?
    Mr. Pence. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Pence, no.
    Mr. Forbes?
    Mr. Forbes. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Forbes, no.
    Mr. King?
    Mr. King. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. King, aye.
    Mr. Feeney?
    Mr. Feeney. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Feeney, no.
    Mr. Franks?
    Mr. Franks. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Franks, aye.
    Mr. Gohmert?
    [No response.]
    The Clerk. Mr. Conyers?
    Mr. Conyers. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Conyers, no.
    Mr. Berman?
    Mr. Berman. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Berman, no.
    Mr. Boucher?
    [No response.]
    The Clerk. Mr. Nadler?
    Mr. Nadler. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Nadler, no.
    Mr. Scott?
    Mr. Scott. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Scott, no.
    Mr. Watt?
    Mr. Watt. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Watt, no.
    Ms. Lofgren?
    [No response.]
    The Clerk. Ms. Jackson Lee?
    Ms. Jackson Lee. No.
    The Clerk. Ms. Jackson Lee, no.
    Ms. Waters?
    Ms. Waters. No.
    The Clerk. Ms. Waters, no.
    Mr. Meehan?
    [No response.]
    The Clerk. Mr. Delahunt?
    [No response.]
    The Clerk. Mr. Wexler?
    Mr. Wexler. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Wexler, no.
    Mr. Weiner?
    Mr. Weiner. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Weiner, no.
    Mr. Schiff?
    Mr. Schiff. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Schiff, no.
    Ms. Sanchez?
    Ms. Sanchez. No.
    The Clerk. Ms. Sanchez, no.
    Mr. Van Hollen?
    Mr. Van Hollen. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Van Hollen, no.
    Ms. Wasserman Schultz?
    [No response.]
    The Clerk. Mr. Chairman?
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. Chairman, no.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Further Members who wish to cast or 
change their vote?
    Mr. Boucher.
    The Clerk. Mr. Boucher, no.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Gentleman from California, Mr. 
Issa.
    The Clerk. Mr. Issa, no.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman from California, 
Gallegly.
    The Clerk.  Mr. Gallegly, aye.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Further Members?
    The gentlewoman from Florida, Ms. Wasserman Schultz.
    The Clerk. Ms. Wasserman Schultz is not recorded.
    Ms. Wasserman Schultz, no.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman from Massachusetts, 
Mr. Delahunt.
    The Clerk. Mr. Delahunt, no.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Further Members who wish to cast or 
change their votes? If not, the Clerk will report.
    The Clerk. Mr. Chairman, there are 10 ayes and 24 nays.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The amendment is not agreed to. Are 
there further amendments?
    If there are no further amendments, a recording quorum is 
present. The question occurs on the motion to report the bill 
H.R. 9 favorably, as amended. All in favor will say aye. 
Opposed, no.
    Mr. King. No.
    The Clerk. The ayes appear to have it, and the chair on his 
own request will order a rollcall. Those in favor of reporting 
the bill H.R. 9 favorably, as amended, will as your names are 
called answer aye; those opposed, no.
    And the Clerk will call the roll.
    The Clerk. Mr. Hyde?
    [No response.]
    The Clerk. Mr. Coble.
    Mr. Coble. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Coble, aye.
    Mr. Smith?
    Mr. Smith. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Smith, aye.
    Mr. Gallegly?
    [No response.]
    The Clerk. Mr. Goodlatte?
    Mr. Goodlatte. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Goodlatte, aye.
    Mr. Chabot?
    Mr. Chabot. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Chabot, aye.
    Mr. Lungren?
    Mr. Lungren. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Lungren, aye.
    Mr. Jenkins?
    Mr. Jenkins. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Jenkins, aye.
    Mr. Cannon?
    Mr. Cannon. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Cannon, aye.
    Mr. Bachus?
    [No response.]
    The Clerk. Mr. Inglis?
    Mr. Inglis. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Inglis, aye.
    Mr. Hostettler?
    Mr. Hostettler. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Hostettler, aye.
    Mr. Green?
    Mr. Green. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Green, aye.
    Mr. Keller?
    Mr. Keller. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Keller, aye.
    Mr. Issa?
    Mr. Issa. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Issa, aye.
    Mr. Flake?
    [No response.]
    The Clerk. Mr. Pence?
    Mr. Pence. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Pence, aye.
    Mr. Forbes?
    Mr. Forbes. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Forbes, aye.
    Mr. King?
    Mr. King. No.
    The Clerk. Mr. King, no.
    Mr. Feeney?
    Mr. Feeney. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Feeney, aye.
    Mr. Franks?
    Mr. Franks. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Franks, aye.
    Mr. Gohmert?
    [No response.]
    The Clerk. Mr. Conyers?
    Mr. Conyers. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Conyers, aye.
    Mr. Berman?
    Mr. Berman. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Berman, aye.
    Mr. Boucher?
    [No response.]
    The Clerk. Mr. Nadler?
    Mr. Nadler. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Nadler, aye.
    Mr. Scott?
    Mr. Scott. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Scott, aye.
    Mr. Watt?
    Mr. Watt. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Watt, aye.
    Ms. Lofgren?
    [No response.]
    The Clerk. Ms. Jackson Lee?
    Ms. Jackson Lee. Aye.
    The Clerk. Ms. Jackson Lee, aye.
    Ms. Waters?
    Ms. Waters. Aye.
    The Clerk. Ms. Waters, aye.
    Mr. Meehan?
    [No response.]
    The Clerk. Mr. Delahunt?
    Mr. Delahunt. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Delahunt, aye.
    Mr. Wexler?
    Mr. Wexler. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Wexler, aye.
    Mr. Weiner?
    Mr. Weiner. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Weiner, aye.
    Mr. Schiff?
    Mr. Schiff. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Schiff, aye.
    Ms. Sanchez?
    Ms. Sanchez. Aye.
    The Clerk. Ms. Sanchez, aye.
    Mr. Van Hollen?
    Mr. Van Hollen. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Van Hollen, aye.
    Ms. Wasserman Schultz?
    Ms. Wasserman Schultz. Aye.
    The Clerk. Ms. Wasserman Schultz, aye.
    Mr. Chairman?
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Aye.
    The Clerk. Mr. Chairman, aye.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Members who wish to cast or change 
their vote?
    The gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Boucher.
    The Clerk. Mr. Boucher, aye. 
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman from California, Mr. 
Gallegly.
    The Clerk. Mr. Gallegly, aye.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Further Members who wish to cast or 
change their votes? If not, the Clerk will report.
    The Clerk. Mr. Chairman, 33 ayes and one nay.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The motion to report favorably the 
bill, as amended, is agreed to. Without objection, the bill 
will be reported favorably to the House in the form of a single 
amendment in the nature of a substitute incorporating the 
amendments adopted here today. Without objection, the staff is 
directed to make any technical and conforming changes and all 
Members will be given 2 days as provided by the House rules in 
which to submit additional dissenting supplemental or minority 
views.
    [Intervening business.]
    [Whereupon, at 12:50 p.m., the Committee was adjourned.]