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Senate leader expects Voting Rights Act renewal passage

[JURIST] Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) [official website] told reporters Friday that he anticipates easy passage of a bill [HR 9 summary; text, PDF] renewing expiring sections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA) [text; DOJ backgrounder] when it comes before the full Senate. Frist said the Senate will vote on the bill either by the end of June or after the month-long August break.

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed the renewal bill [JURIST report] 390-33. In June, Southern lawmakers unexpectedly balked [JURIST report] at two key provisions of the legislation - one requiring nine mostly Southern states with a history of race-based voter discrimination to seek DOJ approval before changing voting laws, and one requiring bilingual ballots in certain areas - that they characterized as unnecessary federal oversight. The objections were eventually reflected in proposed amendments to the House legislation that failed before the final floor vote Thursday. Reuters has more.

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