U.S. House Democrats in Tennessee to hear about voting rights

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Democrats from the U.S. House Judiciary Committee heard from experts about barriers to voting caused by alleged racial discrimination.

U.S. Reps. Steve Cohen of Tennessee, Jerrold Nadler of New York and Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas presided over a field hearing at the University of Memphis’ law school Thursday.

Nadler said House Democrats are working to enact legislation restoring a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. A 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling essentially made the provision unenforceable.

That provision required that jurisdictions with a history of voting discrimination receive pre-approval from federal officials to change voting laws affecting minorities.

Witnesses said voter ID laws, voting roll purges and laws making it harder for ex-felons to regain voting rights are examples of discriminatory barriers to voting.

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