Racism · VA. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli · Voting Rights Act

Ken Cuccinelli Proposes State Be Exempted From Voting Rights Act Because Virginia Has ‘Outgrown’ Racism

In my opinion, the headline above is absolutely absurd.  Racism is alive and well in this country and around the world.  To insist that the Voting Rights Act be exempted to the state of Virginia because they have “outgrown” racism is pure hyperbole and an unwanted trip down the rabbit hole of the Virginina Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli.

Think Progress

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) declared on Tuesday that his commonwealth had “outgrown” institutional racism and no longer needed to be subject to the Voting Rights Act’s redistricting requirements. Speaking to a group of reporters in Richmond, Cuccinelli argued that Congress ought to remove Virginia from a group of nine southern and western states who must get their redistricting maps pre-approved by the Department of Justice in order to prevent discrimination against minority voters:

Cuccinelli also addressed the issue of redistricting, saying he thought it was time for Virginia to be released from its federally mandated oversight by the U.S. Department of Justice under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Under that law, Virginia’s redistricting plan every 10 years must be “pre-cleared” by the Justice Department, which is meant to ensure that Southern states are not discriminating against racial minorities with their new political boundaries.

Cuccinelli, however, said Virginia has “outgrown” that requirement, as the state — which he acknowledged originated Massive Resistance — is no longer marked by institutionalized bigotry.

“I think as a state, as a commonwealth, we have outgrown that,” he said. “We have grown as a commonwealth a great deal in my lifetime.”

Despite Cuccinelli’s insistence that the Voting Rights Act is antiquated and dispensable in Virginia, discrimination remains an unfortunate but major aspect of our society. Over the past 30 years, hundreds of new state schemes to discriminate against minority voters have been blocked by the Department of Justice. Recently, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) came under immense criticism for for attempting to undermine a candidate preferred by Hispanics by scheduling the special election during a Mexican religious festival.

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