Longview NAACP urges Congress to pass Voting Rights Act - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Longview NAACP urges Congress to pass Voting Rights Act

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Voters at polling place. (Source: KLTV News staff) Voters at polling place. (Source: KLTV News staff)

The right to vote is as old as our country, and that right has come under scrutiny by at least one East Texas group.

From redistricting to voter ID, political parties are again at odds over a voting rights amendment act.

In front of Bel's diner in Longview, members of the local NAACP chapter 6197 held a press conference, urging congress to pass the Voting Rights Amendment Act.

"This is a national effort. Every day that congress fails to act, voters are in danger. Changing district boundaries, moving polling locations in areas with high concentrations of people of color," says local NAACP member Branden Johnson.

Claiming the passage is needed to protect voters from discrimination, the group says there are problems with the system right now.

"There are Americans who will lose their right to vote solely because of their race or English language proficiency," Johnson says.

"The Supreme Court invalidated section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, single-handedly freezing the use of section 5; as a result, that allowed jurisdictions to pass and implement voting laws unchecked," says supporter Vic Verma.

But not everyone is on board with the effort. Former Gregg County Republican Party Chairman Keith Rothra sees it differently.

"The problem with what their telling, is it's not the truth. I keep hearing a cry that there is discrimination and that people are being denied the right to vote, and yet the same people who are saying this are saying we've found no evidence of voter fraud anywhere," Rothra says.

Redistricting and voter ID are the hot buttons.

"90-year-olds who've been voting since World War II can't vote because their drivers license has expired and they're not going to get another one," says NAACP supporter David Mays.

Politically speaking, it's familiar territory on both sides.

"There should not be discrimination in race in anything. Every person is a citizen and every person is protected by the law," says Rothra.

The Longview NAACP chapter plans to take their grievance to Congressman Louie Gohmert's office.

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