State Attorneys General joins effort to oppose Voting Rights Advancement Act
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s Attorneys General is joining an opposition to the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
In a letter, Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III, along with 22 other attorneys general, say the new legislation would allow the federal government to take over state elections.
The letter says in part:
“The bill, as introduced, would allow the United States Department of Justice to usurp the authority states rightly possess over their own elections, essentially federalizing the election system.”
In the letter, the attorneys generals say the bill, which has already passed the House of Congress, will require states to have preclearance from the government before enacting state laws.
“H.R. 4 [John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act] implements practice-based preclearance that would require all states and political subdivisions, regardless of whether they are covered, to preclear certain election reforms such as voter identification (“ID”) requirements and voter list maintenance laws before they can be enacted.”
The letter goes on to say that the Constitution gives states the power to establish elections.
“The Constitution reserves to the states the primary role of establishing ‘[t]he Times, Places, and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives.’ Const. Art. I, § IV. The founding fathers purposely and thoughtfully gave Congress a secondary role in election decision making.”
“Tennesseans, through their elected officials, have the right to create laws that safeguard secure, fair elections and prevent voter fraud,” said Slatery. “This partisan attempt to amend the Voting Rights Act, which is a very good law and already provides a remedy when discrimination occurs, would only serve to give the federal government control of our state elections.”
You can read the full letter here.