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Rep. John Lewis Speaks Out Against GOP Voter Suppression Efforts

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Published on May 10, 2012

it is hard and difficult and almost unbelievable that any member, especially a member from the state of georgia, would come and offer such amendment. there's a long history in our country, especially in the 11 states that are -- of the old confederacy from virginia to texas, a discrim -- of discrimination based on race. on color. maybe some of us need to study a little contemporary history dealing with the question of voting rights. just think, before the voting rights act of 1965, it was almost impossible for many people in the state of georgia, in alabama new york virginia, in texas, to register to vote, to participate in the democratic process. the state of mississippi, for example, had a black voting aged population of more than 450,000 and only about 16,000 were registered to vote. one county in alabama was more than 80% but not more than -- but not a single registered african-american voter, people had to pass a literacy test. one man was asked to count the jelly beans in a jar. it's shameful to come here tonight and say to the department of justice you must not use one penny, one cent, one dime, one dollar to carry out the mandate of section 5 of the voting rights act. we should be opening up the political process and letting all our citizens come in and participate. people died for the right to vote. friends of mine. colleagues of mine. speak out against this amendment. it doesn't have a place. i yield to the chairman. this is -- i agree with the chairman. this is not the place. i will not yield. i urge my colleagues to vote against this amendment.

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