Al Sharpton discussed what happened when he met with President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to raise concerns about voting rights on Monday.
The Supreme Court recently struck down part of the Voting Rights Act, specifically the provision that requires certain states to clear changes to voting laws with the federal government. Sharpton, an MSNBC host and president of National Action Network, was present to discuss the potentially negative effects of the ruling.
“It was one meeting – it was unprecedented – the attorney general and the president in the Roosevelt Room of the White House,” Sharpton told MSNBC's Thomas Roberts on Tuesday. “I talked to the attorney general for an hour and the president for 40 minutes.”
He said that both of them reassured the attendees that the federal government would continue to enforce voting rights, saying, "They wanted us to know that this may have been a wounding of what we consider in voter rights... but it does not disable the Voting Rights Act and they intend to go forward and not only protect voting rights for all Americans, but enforce the Voting Rights Act," Sharpton said.
Roberts pointed out that making it more difficult for people to vote made little sense. Sharpton agreed, noting that conservatives often complain about the sense of responsibility in minority communities. "How do you, at the same time, try to limit voting?" he asked, calling the decision "a real blatant effort to suppress the vote."
Despite the Supreme Court's ruling, the administration has in fact signaled that it will actively pursue voter protection. Last week, Holder said that the DOJ would ask a federal court in Texas to approve changes to the state's voting laws. He promised that the move to fight the ruling "will not be our last."
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