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Indiana Attorney General Rokita opposes strengthened Voting Rights Act in Senate testimony

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Alan Mbathi / IPB News
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Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita urged federal lawmakers this week not to approve legislation strengthening a federal voting rights law.

The measure would strengthen parts of the Voting Rights Act that had been stripped away in the last several years by the U.S. Supreme Court. Supporters say it would make it harder for states to enact voter restrictions.

But Republicans like Rokita call it a federal takeover of elections. Rokita, testifying before a U.S. Senate committee, said the U.S. Constitution gives the states authority of the time, manner and place of elections.

“S.4 [the voting rights bill] seeks to flip this Constitutional mandate on its head, turning the Department of Justice into a strengthened federal election czar, wielding the power to challenge any new or existing election law based on the whims of the party in power, whoever controls the Justice Department," Rokita said. "And that should never be.”

Rokita pledged to challenge the legislation in court if it becomes law.

READ MORE: The House Has Passed A Bill To Restore The Voting Rights Act

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Republicans in Congress have uniformly lined up to oppose the bill, making its passage unlikely.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.