Obama and Holder: Feds Will Fight to Protect Voting Rights

President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder told civil rights groups on Monday that the Justice Department is committed to protecting voting rights.

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The Rev. Al Sharpton, right, and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed in front of the White House on July 29 (Mandel Ngan/Getty Images)

During a meeting on Monday with civil rights leaders, President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder said that the Justice Department has an open-door policy regarding reports of voting-rights violations. The meeting was an apparent attempt to assuage any concerns that civil rights groups might have had after last month's Supreme Court voting-rights ruling in Shelby v. Holder.

Leaders such as the Rev. Al Sharpton and National Urban League President Marc Morial left the White House in good spirits about the federal government's continued role in protecting voting rights. The Washington Post reports: 

During the 45-minute meeting, the president told the advocates, which included leaders of African American, Hispanic and Asian groups, that they should report violations directly to the Justice Department, the advocates said.

The meeting follows the 5-4 decision of the Supreme Court last month to invalidate a key portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. “We’ve been assured by the president and the attorney general that they will continue to aggressively fight to protect the right of all Americans to vote,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who attended the meeting. “They are open to many of us on the ground to continue to use the Voting Rights Act -- it is not dead -- and to be resources to bring any violation of voting rights directly to the Justice Department. We are very encouraged by that” ...

The civil rights leaders said they will hold a rally in Washington on Aug. 24 on the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington in 1963, at which they will launch a national voter registration and mobilization drive.

Read more at the Wasington Post. 

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