WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 10, 2014) — “Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor’s shocking loss in Tuesday’s primary against Tea Party candidate David Brat happened because he failed to show leadership on key issues such as out-of-control immigration and attempts by the Left to subvert election integrity,” said J. Kenneth Blackwell, Policy Board Member of the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU).
“Unlike his opponent, he has sent mixed signals on immigration amnesty. And just this week, Mr. Cantor had a chance to take leadership in opposing the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014, which is backed by a Who’s Who of the political Left. But he essentially ducked the issue,” Mr. Blackwell said.
“This awful bill, introduced by one of Mr. Cantor’s fellow Republican leaders, Wisconsin Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, would federalize state elections and explicitly insert racial discrimination into federal election law for the first time ever. That’s right. The proposed law explicitly excludes ‘non-minorities’ from full protection of the Voting Rights Act, a clear violation of equal treatment under the law. This should have been a no-brainer for Mr. Cantor.”
Conservative leaders, including fellow ACRU Policy Board members J. Christian Adams of the Election Law Center and former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese; True the Vote’s Catherine Engelbrecht; Black Conservative Fund’s Anita MonCrief, and Greg Phillips of Voters Trust, sent Mr. Cantor a letter this week seeking a meeting to discuss the bill’s dangers. An ad was to be placed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch urging him to clearly oppose the bill, but it fell victim to unexpected “red tape.” However, supporters of the bill had already been allowed to place full-page ads in the same paper urging Mr. Cantor to help pass the VRAA.
The Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 (H.R. 3899/S. 1945) was introduced in January as a response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Shelby v. Holder in 2013, that invalidated only one part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The original law required the U.S. Justice Department or a D.C.-based federal court panel to pre-clear any voting law changes in nine mostly Southern states, including Virginia, and local jurisdictions in six others. The Supreme Court noted that unequal treatment of some states could no longer pass Constitutional muster based on nearly 50-year old, obsolete data.
“As with immigration amnesty, Mr. Cantor has been tone deaf to serious objections to the VRAA, which would have put his own state back under Attorney General Eric Holder’s scrutiny despite five decades of progress against discrimination,” Blackwell, a former Ohio Secretary of State, said.
“Virginians in his district have apparently had it with non-leadership from Beltway politicians, and apparently Mr. Cantor is not what they want right now.”