NAACP mobilization against Supreme Court voting act ruling

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FLORIDA---Supreme Court overturned a portion what has been the law of the land for 48 years: The Voting Rights Act.

Thursday NAACP representatives from around the state held a conference call to discuss their next move.

"No we don't trust the legislators, No we don't trust our government in Florida or DC either, to do the right thing," said Adora Nweze the president Florida State Conference of NAACP.  The group started a mobilization process in response to the Supreme Court ruling that found section 4 of the Voting Rights Act to be unconstitutional.  The plan includes educating voters and contacting law makers who will now control what ever new voting rules are created.

"Once the Supreme Court made that decisions states start to move immediately on the voting rights strategies that they are using," said Nweze. 

Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act allowed for the enforcement of Sections 5 which prohibits discrimination.  In a nutshell Section 4 said if a state wanted to change it's voting laws they must first get federal approval.  But now with no federal over sight many worry laws will be created that will suppress the minority vote.

"It's one of the worst decisions of the 21st century, it takes us back to the Jim Crow days.  Now you'll have politician making up every reasons to change precincts, you'll have different laws put into effect," said Charles B. Smith 2nd VP with the Manatee County NAACP.

In addition NAACP representatives fear other subtle ways of discrimination, like long lines at polling sites with a high number of minority voters because of the lack of machines and staffing, will increase. But, not everyone agrees.

"It was a great Act, it help the state of Florida a lot but I think we are moving beyond that," said Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett.  He adds efforts are being made to make sure everyone has a voice.   "Were doing something that make it more fare but we have to do it by gerrymandering because thats where people live." 

Bennett says giving states the freedom to set draw their districting line and set voter rules is not about discriminating. "Districts are created because that where people want to live.  African Americans want to live with African Americans Hispanics want to live with Hispanics.  So, people want to live with people were they have a commonality, it has nothing to do with a prejudiced," said Bennett.

Still some say the election process has not been fare with the federal oversight, so without it things will only get worse.

"In the Gore and Bush campaign I personally know quite a few individuals who during the presidential race were accused of being convicted felons.  They were denied access to the ballot was not allowed to vote.  And, then after the election it cleared it up, so they never got to vote," said Smith.

Several organization including the NAACP says they plan on challenging the Supreme Court ruling.