Summary of the Rumor: The story says that blacks will be losing their right to vote in 2007. The reason is that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was not a law, it was just an act, but never passed into law. In 1982, according to the story, Ronald Reagan amended the Voting Rights Act for another 25 years… until 2007. At that time, congress will revisit the whole issue and in addition to congressional approval, there needs to be the approval of 38 states for the law to be extended.
The Truth: This is a hoax. Voting rights for African Americans will not expire in 2007.
1. According to the United States Department of Justice, both the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, guarantee that no person can be prohibited from voting because of race or color. That guarantee is without expiration. The Voting Rights Act does not expire. Lawmakers did add some provisions to the law, however, that are up for review in 2007. Those include things like a ban on poll taxes, allowing the government to register voters if local registrars of voters refuse to do it, and monitoring of elections where there may be concern over everybody getting a chance to vote.
2. Both acts and laws are actions of congress and are the law. There is no distinction in terms of how long they exist. It depends on how they’re written.
3. These special provisions of the Voting Rights Act were to originally expire in 1970, but congress voted to extend them. They were extended again in 1970, 1975, and 1982. The chances are good that congress will extend them again.
4. An extension does not need any approval by the states. Someone has gotten that mixed up with an amendment to the Constitution, which does require the approval of at least 38 U.S. states.
An example of the false story as it has been circulated in emails:
Subject: VOTE OR LOSE IN 2007
WE HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO!
BLACKS CAN LOSE VOTING RIGHTS IN 2007! PASS THIS ON TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS YOU CAN!
“I am wondering if anyone out here knows what the significance of the year 2007 is to Black America? Did you know that the right to vote will expire in the year 2007? Seriously! The Voters Rights Act signed in 1965 by Lyndon B. Johnson was just an ACT. It was NOT made a LAW! In 1982, Ronald Reagan amended the Voters Rights Act for only another 25years, which means that in the year 2007, we could lose the right to vote! Does anyone realize that Blacks/African Americans are the only group of people who require PERMISSION under the United States Constitution to vote? In the year 2007 Congress will once again convene to decide whether or not Blacks should retain the right to vote (crazy, but true). In order for this to be passed, 38 states will have to approve an extension. In my opinion and many others, this is ludicrous! Not only should the extension be approved, but also the Act must be made into a law. Our right to vote should no longer be up for discussion, review and/or evaluation. We must contact our Congress representatives, Senators, Alder persons, etc., to put a stop to this! We have come too far to let the government make such a huge step backward. As bona fide citizens of the United States, we cannot “drop the ball” on this one! So please, let us push forward to continue building the momentum towards gaining equality. I urge all of you that are able, to contact those in government that have your vote and will be voting on this issue.”