Why Rep. Trent Franks is a terrible choice to oversee changes to the Voting Rights Act

July 17, 2013
By Seth Maloney | 9 comments

Remember Trent Franks? He seems familiar. Why did he last show up on the radar?

During a House Judiciary hearing on his abortion bill Wednesday, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) said that he opposes an exemption for rape victims because "the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low." (HuffPo)

Oh, that's right. He hates women. 

FranksBut that was back in January. Since then he's had some time to think of another way to show just how out of touch he and the rest of the GOP have become on just about... everything. 

He's the point man in the House for rebuilding section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. If anything, putting Trent in charge of the Voting Rights Act has answered the question that everyone's been asking since preclearance was struck down. The House, indeed, will not move in favor of the VRA.

Most of the talk coming from him and others have been that Justice Roberts said what everyone is thinking, that we don't really need section 4, that preclearance is a relic of the past, and that we need to stop thinking like it's 1965. Because there are no more racial motives in electoral politics. 

The GOP knows that Democrats will be hit hard if voter ID laws go through. Republicans scream and shout for these laws to fight fraud. The reality is that fraud takes place very rarely, and the same week preclearance was struck down, several states it once applied to introduced those exact ID laws. The timing isn't remotely fishy. At all.

The tragedy of giving Franks the charge of overseeing a change in the preclearance formula is that he doesn't care. He calls marriage equality a "treat to the nation's survival." We know his stance on reproductive rights. Now he gets to add the notch of suppressing democracy to his belt.

Why do we still need the Voting Rights Act? There's the 1,500 discriminatory laws it's blocked since it was passed, the 80 bills introduced in 2013 alone that are trying to suppress votes. 

Congressional action on the issue is in its infancy. There's still time to change the face of our democracy's future. 

Add your name to the campaign telling congress to build a new, responsible Voting Rights Act

Categories: Voting Rights


Commenting on this post has been closed.

I'm 67 years old and I can remember watching the news and seeing black people being attacked by German shepards and the freedom marches and news about people being murdered during the sixties.the republicans are trying to take us back to that time and we can't allow that to happen.

Judith Theisen

Instead of removing these checks, they should apply equally to all 50 states.

Jerry Bierens

The future of our country depends on stopping plutocratic tyranny

Neil Palisch

Protected equal acess to voting should be the law of the "one nation, under God."

Sarah Hostetter

I agree with the thoughts on Trent franks not being competent for the job. Surely there could be more than one candidate who could be considered....so not so fast!

r vanstrien

Build a new, responsible Voting Rights Act.

Tammy Beck

Build a new responsible boating Rights Act.

Tammy Beck

Build a new, responsible Voting Rights Act

Tammy Beck

My experience in the last Presidential election is that we are working hard to return to the days that any citizen who is not a white male is a target for removal of their Constitutional rights. In my experience, it is frighteningly similar to the 1960's into the 1070's when we had to take to the streets to claim equal rights with the white male minority of the American population. We successfully demanded legislation to remove legal restraints from any individual not a white male in defiance of laws on the books ranging from voting to reproductive rights to segregation to unequal education to name but a few. For example, under state law, I was not allowed to buy/use any form of birth control (certainly not pregnancy termination even if it meant the death of the mother) and could not have surgery performed unless my (white male) husband gave his written permission. Nor was I able to get legal/police assistance when he thought it appropriate to beat me which was often. It took nearly 10 years following my divorce from him to enforce his responsibility to support his 4 children - and then only because the judge, by his own admission, knew and admired my father. If this is what the US has become, it is time for anyone who is not white and male to consider expatriating. I make this comment with the understanding that an early ancestor of mine was hanged in Boston (1660) primarily because she was not of the official church (she was Quaker which is Christian) and provided aid and comfort to other Quakers imprisoned and brutalized by the government of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. If our elected officials can not adhere to the elements of the US Constitution and its Amendments, they have no business being in office and should go home. Personally, I object to paying their salaries (which they set/vote for themselves) while they ignore the most fundamental elements of the Constitution. I am aware that, over the past 5,000 years, EVERY empire that has existed has fallen in disrepute - generally out of a sense of entitlement of the few over the many and a grossly uneven distribution of wealth. Are we to be the next empire to continue this long trend - or can we learn from the past? That our "elected" (read bought) officials have taken the path of destroying the US Constitution is nothing short of anarchy by those elected to defend the Constitution. Is this what we want for ourselves or will we find the courage and the impetus to stand for and defend the US Constitution and its laws -both nationally and in even state of the Union.

Caroline Dyer-Gunn
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