In The Guardian, Gupta, Sewell Urge Senate to Address Barriers to the Ballot

Contact: Charmaine Riley, [email protected], 202.548.7166

WASHINGTON – In an opinion piece for The Guardian, Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) urge the Senate to pass H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would require federal oversight for states with a proven and recent history of voter suppression. The call for action comes as voters in recent primary elections, especially those of color, continue to face discriminatory and suppressive barriers at the ballot box.

“There may no longer be outright poll taxes or literacy tests, but make no mistake, these modern day barriers to the ballot box are no less discriminatory and suppressive than those more blatantly un-democratic and racist practices,” they wrote. “The Senate must pass H.R, 4, for the sake of racial progress and the good of our country. Voting rights should be neither a partisan nor a racial issue. As Americans, voting is our most fundamental right – let’s make sure that it’s available to everyone.”

Since Shelby v Holder, 25 states have put in place new voting restrictions, making it harder for people, particularly African Americans, to access the ballot box. Twelve states have enacted laws making it harder for citizens to register and stay registered, while dozens have made it more difficult to vote early or absentee. Thirty-five states now have voter ID laws in place, laws that have been shown to disproportionately disadvantage Americans of color.

The full piece can be read here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit