Sen. Tim Scott, the first black person elected to the U.S. Senate from the South since Reconstruction, says the federal Voting Rights Act should be rewritten to treat all states equally.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 specifically targets states, counties and townships with a past history of racial bias in the electoral process. But Scott, appearing Sunday on "Face the Nation,"
said it is time to stop judging states on behavior from history, and look at what is happening today.
"To specifically punish six Southern states for atrocities that happened 40 or 50 years ago without updating that formula seems to be discriminatory in and of itself," said the South Carolina Republican, said.
During his address at the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on Saturday, President Barack Obama called on Congress to restore the act after the U.S. Supreme Court rolled back some of its provisions in a case in 2013.
That case, Shelby County (Alabama) v. Holder, established that jurisdictions no longer are required to submit changes in their voting laws or practices to the Justice Department for approval based on 40-year-old formulas.
"Every single American should demand making sure that every other American has the right to vote. I think we're all on the same page on that. The question is, how do we get there?" Scott said.
Scott says he supports taking a "second view" of the Voting Rights Act to see how it can be applied "universally to all Americans everyplace" rather than using decades-old actions.
"When you look at the triggers back in the '60s and '70s, South Carolina no longer quailifies," Scott said. He pointed out that the state's governor Nikki Haley, is an Indian American.
"I was elected statewide to the United States Senate by the voters of South Carolina, and I was first elected to Congress at the home, the start, of the Civil War," Scott said.
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