Bush signs Voting Rights Act extension amid fanfare

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush signed legislation today extending for 25 years the Voting Rights Act.

The historic 1965 law opened polls to millions of black Americans by outlawing racist voting practices in the South.

Bush signed the bill amid fanfare and before a South Lawn audience that included members of Congress, civil rights leaders and family members of civil rights leaders of the recent past.

It was one of a series of high-profile ceremonies the president is holding to sign popular bills into law.

The Republican controlled Congress, eager to improve its standing with minorities ahead of the November elections, pushed the bill through even though key provisions were not set to expire until next year.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)