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What we are hearing from people around the District:

Each week, my office receives hundreds of letters, calls, faxes, and e-mail from residents across the Thirteenth District.

In this section, I will post a sampling of the current feedback from constituents across the 11 different counties of the Thirteenth District on the latest topics in the news. You will also find my responses to these comments and see where I stand on the issues at the forefront of people's minds around the district.

Please follow the link below to send me an e-mail and indicate in your message if it is permissible to reprint your message, and whether we may use your name.

Email Congressman Scott

From Lilburn:

As a concerned American, I am writing to urge you to support renewal of the expiring provisions of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA), one of the most successful civil rights laws enacted by Congress.

Unfortunately, discrimination in voting remains a fact of life around the country, and Congress must hold thorough hearings in order to properly document the continued need for the important protections the VRA affords. For example, in 2001 several African-American candidates appeared to be in a strong position to win seats on the local government of Kilmichael, Mississippi. In an effort to prevent this from happening, the all-white Board of Aldermen and mayor canceled the elections just three weeks before they were to be held. The U.S. Justice Department stepped in to enforce the Voting Rights Act. When the elections were finally held in 2003, three African-Americans were elected to the Board of Aldermen and the town had elected its first African-American Mayor.

Congress must not only renew the expiring sections of the VRA for another 25 years (Section 5 preclearance, Section 203 language assistance and the federal examiner and observer provisions) to prevent continuing voter discrimination, it should also enact language to restore Congress' original intent, which has been undermined by several U.S. Supreme Court decisions

Earl Billingham
Lilburn, GA

Congressman Scott Responds:

Thank you for contacting me with important questions regarding the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and to indicate your support for it remaining a permanent and fundamental part of civil rights protection.  I greatly appreciate learning that this issue resonates with you as I continue to work to ensure that the voting process, the bedrock of our democracy, remains protected.

You are understandably concerned about the status of the Voting Rights Act as we approach 2007.  Many rumors have surfaced claiming that minorites will lose their right to vote should this law not be renewed.  Be assured that the right to vote for African-Americans and all minority citizens is permanently protected through the 15th Amendment to the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.  However, four provisions were enacted temporarily and are set to expire in 2007.  These provisions require that states obtain “preclearance” for changes to election law from the Justice Department as well as provide election materials in multiple languages for limited English speaking citizens.  Other expiring provisions provide the U.S. Attorney General with the ability to send federal examiners to register voters or observe elections if he or she feels it is advisable or receives greater than 20 complaints from any state. 

The fact that Georgia’s obviously discriminatory Voter ID law was precleared by the U.S. Department of Justice, against the advice of department attorneys, underscores the continued need for the temporary provisions of the Voting Rights Act to be extended.  Please be aware that I too am concerned by this issue and am working diligently to protect the voting rights of minorities.  Although I am not a member of the House Judiciary Committee, in the fall of 2005 and the winter of 2006, I attended and participated in all ten hearings held on the Voting Rights Act by the committee.  I strongly believe that these provisions need to be extended if not strengthened and I will continue to work tirelessly to that end.

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