- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 9, 2016

NAACP National President and CEO Cornell William Brooks was arrested Monday after refusing to leave a sit-in protest at a district office for Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican.

Roanoke police arrested Mr. Brooks and Stephen Green, the NAACP’s youth director, for misdemeanor trespassing following a nonviolent protest calling for restoration of the Voting Rights Act, the organization said in a press release.

Officers planned on only issuing the men a written summons, but they declined to sign the summons, officials said. As a result, the men were arrested and taken to the magistrate’s office, The Roanoke Times reported. They were released on their own recognizance shortly afterward, the paper said.

“We’ve seen a Machiavellian frenzy of voter suppression in states that have worked deliberately and creatively to make it harder for young people, college students, minorities to vote for the candidate and party of their choice on Nov. 8,” Mr. Brooks said after his arrest. “With the fate of our national moral character at stake, we must hold our elected leaders responsible to act to uphold the constitutional rights guaranteed for all citizens to vote and participate in our democracy.”

“The congressman’s refusal to act for three years is insulting to these young men and women who want to exercise their basic rights under the Constitution,” he added.

The NAACP has been calling on lawmakers to update the federal Voting Rights Act after a 2013 Supreme Court ruling nullified a provision that required states with a history of racial discrimination, like Virginia, to request federal permission to change voting laws. The NAACP says this preclearance in the act is needed to prevent voter suppression, NBC News reported. Without it, the civil rights organization says it allows states to easily discriminate against voters because states can enforce unfair voting laws that will keep minorities away from the polls, NBC News reported.

Mr. Goodlatte, head of the House Judiciary Committee, reiterated Monday that he believes the Voting Rights Act remains strong the way it is.

“The Voting Rights Act is alive and well and protecting the freedom to vote,” he said in a statement, The Roanoke Times reported. “So, strong remedies against unconstitutional voting discrimination remain in place today.”

“The House Judiciary Committee, which I chair, has held a hearing on the Supreme Court’s ruling, and my staff and I have met with the NAACP and associated groups regarding this topic on a number of occasions. We will continue to monitor this very important issue to ensure that the voting rights of all Americans are protected,” he said.

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