Monday, July 24, 2006

Bonilla Votes Against Bilingual Ballots

(Washington, DC)—During renewal of the Voting Rights Act in the House of Representatives yesterday, Congressman Henry Bonilla (TX-23) voted to restrict access to bilingual ballots, making it harder for Spanish-speaking citizens to cast their vote at the ballot box. By voting for an amendment that would strike down the language assistance provisions of the Voting Rights Act, Bonilla voted to roll back the clock and return Texas to the days of Jim Crow laws. [Roll Call Vote #372]

“Henry Bonilla’s vote for this modern day literacy test is a slap in the face of the Hispanic community both in Texas and across this nation,” said Texas Democratic Party spokesman Hector Nieto. “Discriminating against hard-working, taxpaying citizens because of their language ability goes against everything the Voting Rights Act stands for.”

Despite the fact that Rep. Bonilla’s district is 55% Hispanic, he still chose to turn his back on his constituents and his heritage by ensuring his Hispanic constituents aren’t given every opportunity to have their voice heard at the ballot box. Additionally, Bonilla’s congressional district, which was created under a Tom DeLay-inspired sham redistricting scheme, was recently ruled unconstitutional and a violation of the Voting Rights Act because Hispanic voting strength was unfairly diluted.

“Congressman Bonilla has already supported an unprecedented redistricting plan that disenfranchised thousands of Hispanic Texans. Yesterday, he took it a step further by placing his stamp of approval on another effort to suppress minority voters,” added Nieto. “Bonilla’s vote to weaken a monumental piece of legislation like the Voting Rights Act that protects the rights of millions of voters is more proof he has fallen out of step with the constituents in his majority-minority district and has instead joined the most extreme, divisive, and negative element in partisan politics.”

I say, shame on you Mr. Bonilla!

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