voting-rights

If She Didn’t Give Up on Democracy, Neither Should We
When it came to voting, Rosanell Eaton wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer

After the Supreme Court gutted key provisions of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, Rosanell Eaton, center, fought back, Curtis writes. (Walt Unks/AP)

OPINION — If you don’t know Rosanell Eaton’s name, it’s time to learn exactly who she was and why her life and life’s work matters. She is the antidote to the cynicism infecting politics in 2018, a hero of democracy when democracy is under siege. She cared about her country and its highest principles, demanded her basic human and civil rights and brought others along with her.

Rosanell Eaton would not take “no” for an answer.

Voting Rights Piece May Take More Time in Ethics Overhaul
“We’re not going to put any fixed deadline on that,” Sarbanes says

Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., says work on a voting rights component of the Democrats’ planned ethics overhaul may require more time. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats who are preparing an overhaul of political and ethics laws, a top priority of the incoming majority, have acknowledged that a component aimed at restoring a key section of the Voting Rights Act may take longer than their speedy timeline for the bill.

Other pieces of the overhaul, which Democratic leaders have said they will designate as House bill 1 in the new Congress, could also run parallel to the main package as a way to garner bipartisan support in the Senate, said Rep. John Sarbanes, the Maryland Democrat who is crafting the bill.

A House Race in North Carolina Gets Curiouser and Curiouser
Who knew the background checks for political work were so lax?

For a while it looked like Republican Mark Harris had squeaked out a win in the 9th District. But there’s something rotten in the state of North Carolina, Curtis writes. (John D. Simmons/AP file photo)

OPINION — CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Perhaps North Carolina’s 9th District will have a congressman by January; but maybe not.

You see, there seems to have been a mix-up in the count, distribution and collection of absentee ballots in Bladen and Robeson counties, which make up part of the district — what the state elections board (made up of four Democrats, four Republicans and one independent) called “unfortunate activities” when it first refused to certify the results.

GOP Leader Cracks Door, Slightly, on Voting Rights Act

McCarthy, R-Calif., thinks it's time for an "overall review" of the VRA (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Last year, House Democrats saw ex-Majority Leader Eric Cantor as a possible (if ultimately disappointing ) ally in the fight to rewrite the Voting Rights Act for the 21st century.  

On Tuesday, Cantor's leadership successor, Kevin McCarthy, might have revealed himself as another important potential friend to the effort. The California Republican echoed at a pen-and-pad briefing what fellow GOP lawmakers have said before: Any revision of the landmark 1965 law has to start in the Judiciary Committee — a disappointing answer for advocates who know Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., is disinclined to tackle the matter.  

The 'Real Congresswoman From Selma' Has Her Say

Sewell likes to kid that her mother is the "real congresswoman" from the district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Rep. Terri A. Sewell has her constituents in Alabama. Then she has "the" constituent.  

"Everyone knows [who] the real congresswoman from the 7th District is," the Alabama Democrat said. Her staff backs her up, almost in unison: "Nancy Sewell." One of the more recent examples of this dynamic at work happened as the movie "Selma," about the March 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery march, was prepping for national release. Nancy Sewell thought it would be a shame if it didn't open in the city.  

New Congressional Black Caucus Staffers Announced

Congressional Black Caucus staffers, from left, Kwame Canty, Kendra Brown, Candace L. Randle and Abdul Henderson. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With the 114th Congress already heading into its seventh week of action, the Congressional Black Caucus announced its new staff, filling out its four-person shop with three new hires and one holdover from the 113th.  

Abdul Henderson will serve as the CBC’s new executive director, taking over for LaDavia Drane, who is now director of the Office of Federal and Regional Affairs in D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration. Henderson, 39, comes from the Department of Veterans Affairs, where he served as an adviser on global and intergovernmental relations. Henderson told CQ Roll Call in an interview last week that he was looking to expand the CBC’s outreach to audiences that haven’t traditionally heard its message — or even know what the CBC is.  

Lawmakers Push Longshot Bid to Rewrite Voting Rights Act

Sensenbrenner seeks more Republican support for a revived Voting Rights Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner fell short in his 2014 efforts to convince GOP leadership to take up his Voting Rights Amendment Act, but the Wisconsin Republican is ready to take another stab at passing a rewrite of the historic law.  

But there's little indication this year will be any different.  

Democrats Unite Around Middle-Class Message, Israel Says

Israel says Democrats are behind the new "middle class" focus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

PHILADELPHIA — House Democrats are united around a new messaging strategy for the 2016 cycle, according to Rep. Steve Israel of New York.  

"Middle class, middle class and middle class," the chairman of a newly created Democratic Policy and Communication Committee told reporters on Thursday morning. Israel cited the results of a lengthy survey distributed to Democrats last week as evidence of a new intraparty consensus. The results were revealed to the caucus on the first full day of its three-day issues retreat here in the City of Brotherly Love.  

Clyburn Offers Personal Perspective on the Relevance, Power of 'Selma'

Clyburn will lead the Democratic Party's efforts to increase voter participation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

"Selma" may have been snubbed by the Oscars, but Rep. James E. Clyburn gave the civil-rights movie a very personal endorsement Wednesday during a Democratic Party news conference on voting rights.  

The South Carolina Democrat, introduced at the event by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as the chairman of a new task force charged with increasing voter participation, shared an anecdote about how the movie about Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement of the 1960s resonated with one of his younger relatives:

House Democrats Look for Answers, Accountability After Midterm Losses (Updated)

Pelosi and her leadership team face questions about their handling of the midterms. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:34 p.m. | House Democrats came back to work Wednesday still reeling from last week’s bruising election results — and looking for answers about what went wrong.  

For many lawmakers, it wasn't enough to blame the loss of at least a dozen House seats on an unpopular president, gerrymandered districts and a host of other factors beyond the party’s control . Going forward, they say they want their leadership to do some soul-searching, and so far it hasn't happened.