Your morning jolt: Southern GOP governors and the Voting Rights Act

This morning, the Associated Press takes a look at reactions of Republican governors toward this Texas lawsuit the U.S. Supreme Court will hear late this month, aimed at overturning the toothiest provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

Says the AP:

Republican Govs. Sonny Perdue of Georgia and Bob Riley of Alabama have asserted in court filings that the continued obligation of their states to get advance approval for all changes involving elections is unnecessary and expensive in view of significant progress they have made to overcome blatant and often brutal discrimination against blacks.

Perdue in particular singled out Section 5 of the the Voting Rights Act, which means any election law must receive federal approval before it goes into effect. See an earlier post on the topic here. To continue:

Riley said blacks in Alabama register to vote and cast ballots in proportions similar to whites and that black lawmakers make up about one-quarter of the Legislature, reflecting the state’s black population. In November’s election, however, Obama attracted the votes of only about 10 percent of white Alabamans; that was his worst showing among white voters anywhere.

Both Perdue and Riley face term limits that prevent them from running for re-election in 2010.

But other GOP governors in states covered by the advance approval provision of the Voting Rights Act, many of them in the South, are taking a different approach:

— Haley Barbour of Mississippi said he is not seeking to change his state’s status under the Voting Rights Act. Obama captured about 11 percent of the white vote there last year, according to exit polls.

“I’ve said for 25 years, I’ve testified in front of Congress, that the Voting Rights Act ought to apply to every state. Every jurisdiction ought to be covered,” Barbour said. Barbour also is term-limited, but has not foreclosed running for another office.

— Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, widely considered a potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate, issued a brief statement through a spokesman.

“The governor has not reviewed this case or the briefs, but he has confidence in the attorney general to do the right thing for the people of Louisiana,” spokesman Kyle Plotkin said.

— Republican governors in Florida, South Carolina and Texas have taken no position in the Supreme Court case.

— Outside the South, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger but is on record as endorsing the voting rights law.

— In Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer supports it. “She has not voiced a problem with Section 5,” said Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman. “She’s very familiar with it.”

Brewer was the state’s top elections official as the elected Arizona secretary of state before she became governor Jan. 20, when Democrat Janet Napolitano resigned after the Senate confirmed her to be Obama’s homeland security secretary.

While you ponder that, consider these found while perusing

  • The 2010 governor’s race gets off to fast start.
  • And John Oxendine says Casey Cagle doesn’t like to “think hard.”
  • This could be a tough year for collecting taxes.
  • The looming fight over the F-22 fighter jet and 2,000 jobs in Marietta.
  • Navy commander: Trio of shots and pirate standoff ends.
  • Some opinion:

  • Cynthia Tucker says these shootings are insane, and so are the responses.
  • Jim Wooten posits that rural voters may sway race for governor.
  • Jay Bookman says the “socialist” against Obama charge has lost its power to sting.
  • Elsewhere in Georgia:

  • MDJ: U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey says he thought about running for governor, but decided against it.
  • And elsewhere:

  • NYT: Cuts by state governments delay delivery of federal stimulus benefits.
  • London Telegraph: The Religious Right in the U.S. concedes defeat.
  • WSJ: Karl Rove says Barack Obama has become a divisive figure.
  • LAT: Internet payday lenders with ties to Indians dodge regulators.
  • For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

    One comment Add your comment


    April 13th, 2009
    1:36 pm

    Governor Barbour is absolutely correct. Either the VRA should apply to all 50 of us or none of us. Personally, having lived in non-Southern states, I think the VRA could increase justice quite a bit outside the south, but having it apply only to states in the south encourages people in those states to think in capital letters, which has never been good for anyone, in the long term.