President Reagan says he will favor a 10-year extension of the currentVoting Rights Act unless a Justice Department study turns up loopholes "that need to be closed".
Mr Reagan said in an interview with the editorial board of the Washington Star that he previously thought the 1965 law should be extended to all states, but has decided that route might make the law too cumbersome to be effective.
The only part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that will expire in 1982 unless extended is a key enforcement device call "preclearance," which originally covered Deep South states that had discriminated against blacks. Preclearance coverage now embraces 9 states and parts of 13 others, requiring the jurisdictions to obtain federal approval of any votingchange -- even moving a voting location -- to ensure it has no discriminatory purpose or effect.
Reagan said he will yield on his previous position if it is true "that extending it to all the states would interfere with its working."
The current law, passed in Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society," era applies to 10 states, mostly in the south. Soon after he came into office, Reag an ordered a study of the law with an eye toward revising it