In 1975, the congress had revisited VRA (Voting Rights Act). This is the year in which the special provisions of the Act will set to expire again. The latest debate had been less acrimonious compared to the previous debates regarding this Voting Rights Act. It reflected the extended Congress consensus that this Act remained essential for the remedy of ongoing racial discrimination when it comes to voting.
The administration of President Ford was totally different from Nixon. Pres. Ford’s administration had worked in enhancing the relationships with African Americans right after the presidency of Nixon. It supported in extending this Act with no reason to weaken. Right after the hearings conducted on voting rights as the subject, the Congress had amended this Act. Senate approved this amendment by 77-12 vote while the House of Representatives with 346-56 vote. On the 6th of August 1975, President Ford had finally signed such amendment into law.
These amendments had extended the special provisions of the Voting Rights Act for another 7 years. The Congress had chosen 7 years to get rid of the need to reconsider special provisions in the reapportionment process of 1980′s. Relatively, Congress also amended a bail-out provision of requiring the covered jurisdictions that seek bailout to justify that these did not use a device or test in the discriminatory manner during the seventeen-year period that precedes the bail-out request.
In addition, the congress even expanded its coverage formula through integrating new dates during 1972 as the triggering dates that lead to more coverage jurisdictions. Congress made the nationwide prohibition for devices or tests permanent.
The amendments on 1975 had expanded the voting rights when it comes to minority groups. These are the groups that fell out of the protections of Voting Rights Act. The organizations on civil rights that represented Native Alaskan, Native American, Hispanic and Asian American interests had argued just before Congress. They emphasized that these groups are usually the discriminatory voting practice victims, specifically on the situations wherein English has not been a dominant language.
Congress listened to the language discrimination testimony in voting. Congresswoman Barbara Jordan had successfully amended the Voting Rights Act in order to protect all language minorities. The Congress had amended the “test or device” definition in prohibiting laws that require voting information and ballots to be given in English exclusively in jurisdictions. Here, the single-language minority groups which are composed of over 5 percent of voting-age population.
As a result, the coverage formula was expanded to extend to states like Texas, in which the Congress is trying to cover. It even enacted the “bilingual election requirement” wherein it obliges the jurisdiction election officials to give voting information and ballots in a language that is applicable to language minority group.
The right to vote has been permanent but other Voting Rights Act key sections have been temporary. With no reauthorization, such provisions are going to expire. The explanation of the Voting Rights Act of 1975 will give enlightenment to the questions of many people about it.