McKinney lands contract to promote voters' rights

WASHINGTON: McKinney & Associates has won a one-year contract from a coalition of civil rights groups to raise awareness about the need to bolster the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965.

WASHINGTON: McKinney & Associates has won a one-year contract from a coalition of civil rights groups to raise awareness about the need to bolster the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965.

The agency, which won the account after a competitive bid, said it would focus on nationwide outreach, public engagement initiatives, and earned media.

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund is leading the coalition, which includes civil rights and nonprofit groups such as the Asian American Justice Center, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Native American Rights Fund, and the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund.

"A lot of the work will be regional public awareness campaigns about the importance of the VRA," said agency president Gwen McKinney.

The provisions of the VRA that expire in August 2007 include Section 5, which requires states with a history of racial discrimination to get federal approval to change their voting laws or district lines, and Section 203, which requires election officials to provide voting material in the native language of voters who do not speak English.

McKinney & Associates will perform market research on how best to educate the public and policymakers about the need for VRA reauthorization. Media outreach will target the states most affected by the VRA.

McKinney said one of the key elements of the education campaign would involve reaching out to populations, such as Latinos and Native Americans, who may not realize that the VRA applies to them.

McKinney & Associates has previously worked for many of the groups in the coalition.

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