OSSINING, N.Y.-- The Ossining Village Board is opposed to the recent U.S. Supreme Court's decision overturning part of the Voting Rights Act.
At the Aug. 20 village board meeting, the Ossining Village Board unanimously approved a resolution calling for Congress to restore the full Voting Rights Act.
The Voting Rights Act, passed by Congress and signed into law in 1965, bans discrimination in voting practices at all levels of government. In June, the Supreme Court struck down Section 4b of the Act.
Section 4b of the Act required federal pre-clearance for any and all changes to voting laws that could result in discrimination before enactment by states or parts thereof that had been cited by the U.S. Department of State.
Mayor William Hanauer said the only way things get done is for people to push for change.
"Ossining is a very diverse community," Hanauer said. "We do not tolerate laws or tolerate rules and regulations that are discriminatory."
Hanauer said a progressive state like New York can be the forefront in change, though he does not see strict voter ID laws coming to the state.
"People recognize that we are a progressive government," Hanauer said. "We are very much interested in social justice and civil rights. Most of the comments I've gotten are very positive."
Hanauer said he hopes other municipalities throughout Westchester pass a similar resolution.
Robert Daraio, a village trustee, said it is important for the trustees to speak about issues of national importance.
"That's our obligation," Hanauer said. "We are the closest level of government to the people. Not like Congress, which has to take a field trip to find out the price of milk."
Daraio pointed out numerous laws and restrictions passed throughout the country that would be allowed because of the Supreme Court's decision.
"This is a huge setback for our country," Daraio said. "As soon as the ink was dry, they were passing these laws. They are undoing civil rights. It needs to be stopped and everyone needs to say something. People need to stand up. Just because this issue might not affect you personally doesn't mean the next issue won't."
Daraio said the village board will soon pass a resolution calling for the state to pass a law requiring equal pay for men and women.
"If we're not going to speak up, then who will?" Daraio said.
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