Texas Lawmaker Says Voter Discrimination Still Happens

The Section 5 provision does have its detractors, however. Edward Blum, a Michigan-born former investment broker, has been a vocal opponent of Section 5. He thinks rigorous voting laws are a good thing, but that they should apply everywhere, not just places like Shelby County.

"The voting rights law has a very powerful provision called Section 2, which is permanent," he told NPR recently. "It doesn't expire, and it applies coast to coast…That is the law that the federal government turned to [in order to] stop Ohio and Pennsylvania with the introduction of their voter ID laws [during the 2012 election]. If that law is good enough for Ohio and Pennsylvania, it should be the same law that is used in South Carolina and Texas if the government has objections to their voter ID laws."

Critics also argue that Section 5 is outdated, since the criteria used to determine which states should be required to get preclearance – including voter registration and turnout data – date from the early 1970s.

Martinez Fischer doesn't think either criticism is strong enough to warrant doing away with Section 5 completely. He says a history of discrimination in a state deserves consideration, and that if any modifications need be made to the law, they should be made in Congress, not just "invalidated entirely" because a few people disagree with them. He also says the exemption option lets states avoid unnecessary inclusion in Section 5, and that advocacy organizations can serve a role in monitoring discrimination in all areas, including those not specified under Section 5.

Furthermore, Martinez Fischer insists, along with the government, that the act was well vetted before it was reauthorized.

"Those who are tired of losing are the ones who want to get rid of the Voting Rights Act," he said.

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX) joined other top lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), on the steps of the Supreme Court early Wednesday morning in support of Section 5.

"The Voting Rights Act restored justice, equality and fairness to our country's most sacred right," he said, "the right to vote."

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