WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson supports reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act, the landmark civil rights law whose protections were watered down by the Supreme Court in 2013.
In a Thursday interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Carson was asked whether he agreed with his rival, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who opposes reauthorizing the law. In Bush's view, there has been "dramatic improvement" in access to voting since the VRA was passed in 1965.
"I would like to understand his rationale for that, but of course I want, you know, the Voting Rights Act to be protected," Carson told Blitzer. "And whether we still need it or not, whether we've outgrown the need for it is questionable. Maybe we have. Maybe we haven't. But I wouldn't jeopardize it."
Bush -- along with the majority of the GOP -- maintains that the law's protections are no longer needed because areas of the country that historically kept low-income and minority voters away from the polls do not do so anymore. But Carson, the only African-American running for president, isn't sure that matters.
"He may well be right," Carson said of Bush. "But I don't see the disadvantage in maintaining the right."
The Supreme Court in 2013 struck down a key provision of the VRA over objections to the formula that the law used to determine which states required federal clearance before updating their voting laws. Democrats have introduced multiple bills in Congress to update the formula, but the legislation has been stonewalled by Republicans.