Voting Rights Debate at the 2014 Texas Leadership Forum (Austin)

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AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center

1900 University Avenue

Amphitheater 204

Austin, TX 78705

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PANEL DEBATE ON VOTING RIGHTS IN TEXAS

Amazing panel of debaters including four members of Texas House of Representatives and one Libertarian Party County Chair.

Texas State Representative Gene Wu (D)

Texas State Representative Rick Miller (R)

Texas State Representative Mike Villarreal (D)

Texas State Representative Dwane Bohac (R)

Hays County Chairman Kurt Hildebrand (Libertarian Party)

Voting Rights Act of 1965 was a landmark piece of legislation passed during the turmoil of the civil rights moment. The key goal of the Voting Rights Act was to protect and defend minorities from unlawful discrimination through such things as poll tests, poll taxes, and unfair redistricting. Recently, a case called Shelby County v. Holder (June 25, 2013) was brought before the United States Supreme Court and the court's ruling struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act dealing with the way minority districts are created, protected, and approved by the federal government.

Texas announced shortly after the decision that 1) A voter identification law that had been blocked would go into effect immediately and 2) That redistricting maps there would no longer need federal approval. Also, changes in voting procedures in the places that had been covered by the law, including ones concerning restrictions on early voting, will now be subject only to after-the-fact litigation.

A voting rights battle royal began in October 2013 when the Department of Justice sued North Carolina over its restrictive new election law. DOJ alleged that the law, which imposes a photo ID requirement for voting, ends same-day voter registration, and cuts back on early voting, violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Earlier this summer the DOJ also filed two Section 2 suits against Texas, arguing that its photo ID law and electoral district maps are illegal.

In this important and extremely timely debate we will hear perspectives from across the political spectrum on the issue of voting rights generally, especially as it pertains to state's rights versus federal oversight, redistricting, voter ID laws, and voter discrimination in contemporary electoral politics.

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AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center

1900 University Avenue

Amphitheater 204

Austin, TX 78705

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