Nation: Enforcing the 15th

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Co-Sponsors. All too aware of past attempts to thwart Negro voting rights, the writers of the bill have added a clause that would hog-tie evasive Southern legislatures. Once a state comes under federal vote controls, all its voting laws would be frozen as of last Nov. 1. No new regulations could be put into effect unless the District of Columbia federal court—a notably pro-civil rights body—approved them first. Moreover, even the qualifications on which a federal registrar would judge voter applicants would be approved by the Civil Service Commission and the Attorney General, although Congress may want to provide some general guidelines on such matters as literacy of applicants, age, mental competence, residence and history of felony convictions.

As the bill stands now, it appears to answer the needs of the moment and ought to pass both houses handily. For once, a Senate civil rights filibuster seems unlikely. The proposal was introduced on the Senate floor last week by 64 co-sponsors—44 Democrats and 20 Republicans. To make certain that it does not get stuck in Mississippi Senator James Eastland's Judiciary Committee, the Senate voted 67 to 13 to instruct Segregationist Eastland to return the bill to the floor no later than April 9. The House hopes to vote by mid-April, and will probably produce no more than 100 votes against it.

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