Support amendments

to Voting Rights Act

The NAACP was the driving force behind the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Our organization is now leading the march to support amendments to the Voting Rights Act (HR 3899/S1945) to strengthen the now-diluted law.

As more people of color exercise their right to vote, further attempts are made to block and/or suppress their votes. It appears that changing demographics, which are resulting in the "browning of America," put fear in the hearts of many.

The purpose of these bills is to update and modernize the provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder case decided in June 2013.

When there are certain jurisdictions that have an established history of disenfranchisement based on race, our members are concerned. How does this occur? One way is through redistricting, which can result in new polling places. This may not seem like a big deal, but some minority voters often rely on public transportation. Voting centers off the beaten path prove to be a tremendous challenge and have the effect of diluting the minority vote. Is this really what we want?

Voting must be fair and equitable for all, and we cannot tolerate anything that could stand in the way of every vote being counted.

OLIVIA C. CALDWELL

President

Mainland/Pleasantville NAACP

Pleasantville

Why no Press coverage

of Albany Devils game?

The New Jersey Devils' American Hockey League team, the Albany Devils, played in historic Boardwalk Hall on Feb. 14.

Reading The Press of Atlantic City on Saturday, Feb. 15, I looked for game coverage. There was none to be found, so I figured that maybe the game ended too late for publication. I really doubted it since the game started at 7 p.m. and most likely ended by 9:30 p.m. But I gave the benefit of the doubt to the paper and checked for coverage on Sunday, Feb. 16. Guess what? No coverage.

Really? The Press dropped the ball (or puck) on this one.

ROY LAW

Longport

Bring back $2 tables

to revive Atlantic City

When gambling was first introduced here the benefits to our town were immense. Everything was great until the selfish casino owners, just caring about their own profits, forced the Casino Control Commission to alter the rules. Then it was downhill for all of us.

The problems in our town can be fixed in one day. Just force our New Jersey legislators to restore the rules that originally brought gambling to Atlantic City. Start with having $2 minimum tables and all of the other rules that were in force at the beginning. That will turn our town into a fun town again.

MILTON STEIN

Atlantic City

Loosen N.J. law

on concealed carry

As I sit here and read about yet another carjacking/kidnapping in my state, I am left wondering what is going on with our elected officials? When will they, and the people who elect them, wake up and realize that New Jersey's outdated and draconian gun laws are not working? Criminals here know they have free reign to rob and terrorize the innocent because so few of us are allowed to carry a concealed weapon on our person.

Currently, a citizen of this state could apply for a concealed weapon permit, take all the tests and training, pass a background check and get fingerprinted, pass a mental-health background check, have a mental-health screening done, and still be denied the right to defend themselves. This is the rule, not the exception.

Think for yourselves. Do the research and don't let emotions rule this important issue. A majority of other states have more lenient concealed-carry laws, and their crime rates are much lower. We need to make New Jersey a "shall issue" state and abolish these laws that put our lives and the lives of our loved ones in danger.

MIKE GASKILL

Egg Harbor Township

Open birth records

for N.J. adoptees

Regarding the adoptees' birthright bill (S873/A1259):

Lobbyists opposing adoptees' right to receive copies of their original birth certificates have moderated their testimony considerably over 34 years, finally acknowledging in 2006 under intense questioning at a legislative hearing that there is no guarantee of confidentiality in the statutes.

No parent who relinquished a child for adoption in New Jersey can be confident her child's record is sealed because birth certificates weren't sealed at relinquishment, but when the adoption was finalized in court no sooner than six months later.

The relinquishment document required her to surrender her right to receive any future information about the child, so how could she know when or if the adoption took place?

Since records were sealed in 1940, the courts have been able to open adoption records for good cause, and adoptive parents have been able to keep the child's name at birth, without permission from or notification of the birth parent.

It should be clear that neither the statutes nor the process of adoption incorporates the concept of "privacy" from one's own son or daughter. It was privacy from public scrutiny that was the point of the law.

What are the real fears of opponents of adoptees having access to their own birth records?

PAM HASEGAWA

Morristown