Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) issued the following statement addressing current misconceptions of H.R. 3899, the Voting Rights Amendment Act (VRAA) of 2014.  

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner: “I was a strong supporter of the 1982 Voting Rights Act (VRA) reauthorization and led the most recent reauthorization in 2006 as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Both passed with broad bipartisan support and were signed into law by Presidents Reagan and Bush. As soon as the Court’s decision came down deeming Section 4, the coverage formula for Section 5, unconstitutional, I began working to fix it. And now, I’ve introduced legislation that would—the Voting Rights Amendment Act.  
“Section 2 of the VRA currently allows, and will continue to allow after this bill is passed, private citizens or the Department of Justice to bring actions to stop voter discrimination against any racial group, including white voters.

“Section 5 preclearance coverage applies to all voting violations, regardless of whether the discrimination is directed at white or minority voters. The Voting Rights Amendment Act ensures states can only be covered if they commit five violations within the most recent 15 years.  Political subdivisions within states can be covered if they commit three violations within that period or if they commit one violation and have had “persistent and extremely low minority turnout” over that period.  All racial discrimination—whether directed at white or minority voters—counts equally as a violation under the Act.  The only exception is that a political subdivision can be covered if it commits one voting violation and has “persistent and extremely low minority turnout.” The bill can easily be broadened in Committee to recognize “persistent and extremely low white turnout” as well, but was not included in the original draft because no one has ever flagged persistent suppression of majority voters as a problem.

“The VRAA is nationwide in application.  Any state will be covered if it commits five violations within the most recent 15 years. The bill also includes carve-outs for reasonable voter identification laws, because curtailing discrimination and fraud are entirely consistent goals.”