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JCPA launching voting rights advocacy campaign

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Jewish Council for Public Affairs is launching a voting rights advocacy campaign.

The umbrella body for local and national Jewish public policy groups will launch the drive at its annual conference, which is being held in Atlanta from Sunday to Tuesday.

A plenary session Monday will “strategize about how we can better our nation and ensure that every citizen can cast a meaningful vote,” according to the program.

The Supreme Court in June last year struck down provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that had subjected changes in voting laws in a number of regions to Justice Department review. The ruling has been followed by a slew of new voter identification laws across the country that Democrats and liberal groups say have a disproportionate impact on minorities, the poor and the elderly.

A number of Jewish groups had strongly supported keeping the act’s provisions in place and have joined in efforts to reinstate the protections.

The JCPA conference also will include sessions on combating the boycott Israel campaign, advancing rights for the disabled and steps that communities can take “in anticipation of a possible Iran-related emergency situation.”

On Tuesday, the conference will consider a number of consensus resolutions. Each has been vetted by community leaders ahead of the conference and most are virtually guaranteed passage.

Among the resolutions are more government support for higher education, increasing the minimum wage, advocating for the disabled and for LGBT rights overseas.

The one resolution that may draw controversy updates JCPA’s stance on reproductive rights to applaud recent law mandating contraceptive coverage in health plans. Orthodox groups, which regard the law as overly intrusive, plan to dissent.

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