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Nadler tells DOJ, "we need vigorous enforcement." of the NVRA

Voting Matters Blog reports: February 26 was not a good day for Asheesh Agarwal, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the U. S. Department of Justice. During a hearing of the House Committee on the Judiciary, the bookish bureaucrat was raked slowly over the hot coals by several irate members of Congress.

At issue was the DOJís enforcement of key provisions within the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which was passed by Congress in 1993 to increase participation in federal elections. Committee members attempted, with little success, to get Agarwal to explain why DOJ has spent the lionís share of its resources to pressure states to purge voters rather than ensuring their rights.

"Rights on paper are not the same as rights in fact," intoned Congressman Jerrold Nadler of New York. "For that we need vigorous enforcement."

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Congresswoman from South Florida, cited alarming statistics about voter registration decreases documented in Unequal Access: Neglecting the National Voter Registration Act, 1995-2007, a report written by Project Vote and Demos. The report found that voter registrations generated from public assistance agencies within that period had declined by 79 percent, despite the NVRAís specific requirement that states offer the service in agencies that help the disadvantaged. -- House Members Grill Justice Dept. Official Over NVRA Enforcement

Note: the Voting Matters Blog has a link to the video of the hearing, but be prepared to spend 2+ hours.

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