After a day of debate, the House voted 390-33 to renew the [Voting Rights Act of 1965], which is intended to ensure no voting jurisdiction illegally suppresses the votes of minorities or of citizens who might have difficulty casting ballots because of limited proficiency in English or other factors.
Extended requirements include bilingual ballots where officials deem them necessary and federal permission for election-related procedural changes in Texas and eight other states with a history of discrimination in voting practices.
Six Texas Republicans voted against final passage: Joe Barton of Ennis, Mike Conaway of Midland, Jeb Hensarling of Dallas, Sam Johnson of Plano, Ron Paul of Lake Jackson and Mac Thornberry of Clarendon.
“All that the (Voting Rights Act) sought to correct has been corrected,” Conaway said. “It labels Texas as a racist state, and that’s not true. There are those who might look at (my vote) as a racist vote. I hope not.”
Funny you should bring that up, Mike, since your comrade in the “we don’t need the VRA ’cause there’s no racism in Texas any more” business, John Carter, voted for final passage. Perhaps he was feeling the heat from his earlier tomfoolery on the issue. Maybe the two of you should get together over coffee and talk about it.
As noted by Vince, Carter was in fact the only Texas Republican to vote against any of the proposed amendments – he opposed the Norwood amendment, which would have allowed a state to escape the pre-clearance requirement after three consecutive presidential elections in which minority turnout exceeds 50 percent. All other amendments fell along party lines, with only the six dead-enders noted above voting against final passage.
Anyway. It’s over, and the good guys won. That’s what matters for now.