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Justice Department Says Voting Rights Rumor is Untrue

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RALEIGH — A rumor about the future of theVoting Rights Act of 1965has some worried they may lose their right to vote.

The rumor has been floating around the Internet for several months and is prompting even theDepartment of Justiceto deny it.

Right now, even the Voting Rights division of the Department of Justice does not know how the rumor got started.

The rumor is simply this: African Americans will lose their right to vote when some provisions of the Voting Rights Act expire in 2007.

The rumor isnottrue.

Voting rights of African Americans are guaranteed under the Constitution and can not expire.

In July, Camille Cosby, while writing about her son's death in "USA Today," commented about the Voting Rights Act, misstating that African Americans could lose their right to vote. The Cosby article is also found on the Internet.

Some unknown and uninformed Internet user began circulating E-mail asking, "Did you know our right to vote will expire in the year 2007?"

The Department of Justice has received numerous inquiries about the rumor and has put up a clarification on its Web site.

It clearly states "The rumor is false. The basic prohibition against discrimination in voting contained in the 15th Amendment and in the Voting Rights Act does not expire in 2007. It does not expire at all. It is permanent."

The only change that could be made in 2007 has to do with whether federal oversight may be called for in several southern states, including North Carolina.

One Web site, thought to be in California, posts yet another misleading commentary about the loss of voting privileges.

Some of the postings have the Congressional Black Caucus concerned about the hoax and the acceptance of the rumor by some black Americans.

The caucus is considering putting up its own Web site to debunk the rumor.


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