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Vice President Biden decries 'hatred' behind state voter ID laws

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden waves to the crowd as he leaves after delivering his speech at Yonsei University in Seoul December 6, 2013. RE
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden waves to the crowd as he leaves after delivering his speech at Yonsei University in Seoul December 6, 2013. RE

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Tuesday he hopes Congress will pass new legislation to modernize the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 and counter what he called the "hatred" behind voter identification laws in states such as North Carolina, Alabama and Texas.

The U.S. Supreme Court gutted a core part of the act in June, and said Congress needed a new plan to protect blacks and other minorities in places where discrimination still persists rather than target former slaveholding states in the South.

At a reception at the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., in honor of African-American History Month, Biden criticized voting rules in North Carolina, Alabama and Texas.

"These guys never go away. Hatred never, never goes away," Biden told the reception. "The zealotry of those who wish to limit the franchise cannot be smothered by reason."

The U.S. Justice Department has sued North Carolina and Texas to block state laws requiring voters to show photo identification before voting, arguing they discriminate against minorities.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a new bill in the Senate and the House of Representatives in January in response to the Supreme Court decision.

It is not clear when the measure will be considered. But Biden said he was hopeful it would pass.

"This fight has been too long, this fight has been too hard, to do anything other than win - not on the margins, but flat-out win," he said.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Ken Wills)

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