Henderson to Congress: Ongoing Crisis of Racial Discrimination in Our Voting Systems Demands Action
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Stephen Peters, [email protected], 202.466.1887
New reports document current pervasive and persistent voting discrimination in Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia
WASHINGTON — Wade Henderson, interim president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, testified today before the House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties on the ongoing crisis of racial discrimination in the nation’s voting systems. Providing documentation of current day voting discrimination in states across the country, Henderson highlighted the urgent need for Congress to swiftly pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
“[T]he eight-year impact of the Shelby County ruling has been devastating to our democracy. The Supreme Court’s invalidation of the preclearance formula released an immediate and sustained flood of new voting restrictions in formerly covered jurisdictions,” said Henderson in his testimony. “Without the Voting Rights Act’s tools to fight the most blatant forms of discrimination, people of color continue to face barriers to exercising their most important civil right, including voter intimidation, disenfranchisement laws built on top of a system of mass incarceration, burdensome and costly voter ID requirements, and purges from the voter rolls. States have also cut back early voting opportunities, eliminated same-day voter registration, and shuttered polling places. The pattern is familiar: Gains in participation in voting among communities of color are met with concerted efforts to impose new barriers in the path of those voters.”
Henderson provided details from new reports on several states, including Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and two reports on Alabama, found here and here, which document current pervasive and persistent voting discrimination — the same conditions required by the Supreme Court in Shelby County as the basis for Congress to update a coverage formula. Additional reports will be submitted into the congressional record.
“For democracy to work for all of us, it must include us all. When certain communities cannot access the ballot and when they are not represented in the ranks of power, our democracy is in peril,” continued Henderson. “The coordinated, anti-democratic campaign to restrict the vote targets the heart of the nation’s promise: that every voice and every eligible vote count. Congress must meet the urgency of this moment and pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.”
Read his full written testimony 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 www.civilrights.org.