Congress may be dysfunctional but lawmakers still must be pushed hard for a quick fix to the Voting Rights Act if there are to be adequate safeguards in place in time for next year’s mid-term elections, a U.S. Senator will urge the national NAACP Monday.
“We shall not be moved back to a time before the Voting Rights Act,” Sen. Bill Nelson will say, according to an advance copy of his prepared remarks. “Do not ever let anyone keep souls from the polls.”
The Florida Democrat is scheduled to deliver a brief address at the NAACP 104th annual convention Monday morning in Orlando, preceding the keynote by NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, former director of the U.S. Human Rights Program at Amnesty International.
Nelson, according to his prepared remarks, will slam the Supreme Court for its recent ruling on the Voting Rights Act and for weakening the election protections it has provided since the mid-1960s.
“It hammered a stake into the law that’s been guaranteeing fair elections in this country since the 1960s,” Nelson says. “Now it’s left up to a dysfunctional Congress to fix the law. And who in here hasn’t lost confidence in Washington’s ability to get things done?”
The theme of the NAACP convention is “We shall not be moved.” And the highlight Monday, following Nelson’s remarks, will be the keynote by Jealous, who in 2008 at age 35 became the seventeenth and youngest person to lead the century-old NAACP. During his tenure, the association’s membership has increased three years in a row for the first time in more than two decades.