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Rep. John Lewis Confronts Rep. Paul Broun Over Voting Rights Act

A YouTube Video posted by Democrats from the House Ways and Means Committee captures part of the exchange.

A YouTube video shows part of an exchange between Georgia's 10th District U.S. Rep. Paul Broun and 5th District Rep. John Lewis.

Lewis confronts Broun over an amendment Broun proposed that would would eliminate funding for Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires federal oversight of voting laws in Georgia and several other states.

Broun -- who under new District 10 boundaries will represent much of Northeast Georgia, including most of Athens-Clarke County; all of Oconee, Walton and Barrow; and part of Gwinnett -- is shown withdrawing the amendment after Lewis' remarks.

Should the state of Georgia still be subject to the Voting Rights Act? Tell us in the comments.

Rebecca McCarthy May 12, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Count, the Moore's Ford lynching happened in 1949, which isn't too long before 1951. So I would say, and this is my opinion, that yes, in 1951, white folks were still very hostile in 1951. Unfortunately.
Count Raoul May 12, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Your timeline is correct. My question was whether the South was still hostile to the North in 1951. That was rougly 86 years after Appomatox but we were still being asked to pay a tariff on finished textiles headed north of Virginia. That's right, an interstate tariff on southern goods as a punishment for the Civil War. Repealed in 1952.
Ryan Smith May 12, 2012 at 06:14 AM
Count, Having lived in both places, I'd have to say there are many enclaves in the South that are still hostile to the North in 2012. In a small Southern town in which I once lived, I was a local government reporter. During the last election I covered there, an incumbent county commissioner who was supremely qualified and had indisputably done his job beyond all expectation was defeated by a challenger who was frankly a joke: totally unqualified, ill-prepared, and uninterested in learning the job once he had it. The electorate's chief complaint about the incumbent they voted out: He was a Yankee transplant. I heard that time and time again. Very few people actually complained about his job performance, which was frankly unassailable (and I say that as a reporter who is generally pretty harsh with elected officials). He was simply born on the wrong side of the Mason-Dixon line. He never made a big thing of that, never crowed about "How we did things up North," and he'd lived in the county for about 15 years. Not long enough, apparently. I'm a Kentuckian born and bred, and I've lived in Georgia, Florida and both Carolinas, so I'm a fan of the South. But I can't pretend there aren't enclaves -- not the entire South, just enclaves -- that seem to think the Civil War is still going on. However, full agreement that a Reconstruction-era tariff still in force in 1951 is pretty ridiculous.
Count Raoul May 12, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Interesting anecdote Ryan, and I'm sure it is true. But the subject at hand is the State of Georgia being required to ask a three judge panel in DC for permission to move a polling place or change the font on a ballot. It's humiliating. And how did this county commissioner get elected in the first place? Wouldn't the rednecks have known better when he was first running?
Ryan Smith May 12, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Count, Regarding the commissioner, as I recall he ran unopposed in his primary and against a Democrat in the general -- and in that particular county, Democrats were the one group less likely to get elected than Yankees. In the next election, the local GOP made darn sure to throw its weight behind a primary challenger, who then ran unopposed in the general. As far as the VRA goes, considering that when Georgia attempted to implement ID match and "citizenship test" laws in 2008, the system was riddled with errors that disproportionately affected minorities and resulted in thousands of eligible voters being wrongly flagged, I don't particularly care how humiliated the state government is. When it proves it can run an election without disenfranchising voters -- whether by design or simple incompetence -- then the VRA might have outlived its usefulness. My only problem with the VRA is the idea of individual pre-clearance jurisdictions; as you quite rightly pointed out, it's naive to assume that only a few states would want to gerrymander certain groups into political impotence. In other words, if Georgia has to deal with pre-clearance, so should Massachussetts.


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