Republican Sponsor Of 2006 Reauthorization Vows Bipartisan Voting Rights Fix

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)

A day after a 5-4 majority of the U.S. Supreme Court gutted key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, the Republican author of its most recent reauthorization vowed to help devise a bipartisan fix.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) sponsored the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006, which extended the law’s expiring provisions requiring that jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination seek pre-approval from the U.S. Department of Justice or a federal court before changing election and voting laws.

The Supreme Court’s ruling struck down the formula for determining which states and localities were covered under the preclearance rules — but left it to Congress to come up with an updated formula.

In a statement e-mailed to ThinkProgress, Sensenbrenner said Congressional action to do so is vital:

“The Voting Rights Act is vital to America’s commitment to never again permit racial prejudices in the electoral process. Section 5 of the Act was a bipartisan effort to rectify past injustices and ensure minorities’ ability to participate in elections, but the threat of discrimination still exists. I am disappointed by the Court’s ruling, but my colleagues and I will work in a bipartisan fashion to update Section 4 to ensure Section 5 can be properly implemented to protect voting rights, especially for minorities. This is going to take time and will require members from both sides of the aisle to put partisan politics aside and ensure Americans’ most sacred right is protected.

Tuesday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) endorsed finding “a responsible path forward that ensures that the sacred obligation of voting in this country remains protected.”