Voting Rights Hearing And Conference
TO: Tribal LeadersTribal Voter Election Network
FROM: John R. LewisExecutive Director
RE: Voting Rights Act Conference & Hearings
On April 6 & 7, 2005 ASU (Arizona State University – Tempe) Barrett Honors College will host a conference and hearings on the Voting Rights Act (VRA) that has several components set to expire on August 6, 2007.
The first day will focus on Section 203 of the Act, which extends voting protection to minority groups including American Indians and Alaskan Natives. Section 203 was enacted in response to substantial evidence that the covered groups were prevented from participating in the political process by language barriers andsystemic discrimination.
Congress adopted the language minority provisions of the Voting Rights Act in 1975 for a period of ten years, extended them in 1982 for ten year and in 1992 for fifteen years.
The second day of the event shall be a public hearing by the National Commission on the Voting Rights Act. The privately organized Commission is holding a series of regional hearings across the country to gather testimony and evidence that will be used to create a comprehensive record on the degree of racial discrimination in voting and the impact of the VRA since 1982.
Congress enacted the Voting Rights Act (“VRA”) in August 1965 to protect the right of all citizens to exercise their fundamental right to vote and have equal access to the political process.
This conference and hearing will gather evidence that Congress will need in deciding whether to reauthorize expiring provisions of theVRA and if so, what changes are necessary to make the legislation more effective.
Please make every effort to send a Tribal official or representative to this event and voice your concerns and recommendations.
Attachments: Conference Agenda & Registration
Goals of the National Commission on the VRA
Many Nations, Many Voices: Native American Language Assistance
This panel will focus on the barriers to Native Americans participating in non-tribal elections. What are the particular language issues affecting Native Americans? Who needs assistance? What is the most effective way of providing it?
How do you increase Native American participation (addressing issues such as registration barriers, tribal sovereignty, transportation problems, polling place locations, and voter apathy)?
What sorts of grass roots efforts have been successful? How do you work with local elections officials? This panel focuses more on a “nuts and bolts” discussion of the unique problems affecting Native American voters.
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