Pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to Protect the Freedom to Vote
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sofia Costas, [email protected]
WASHINGTON — Leslie Proll, senior director of the voting rights program at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement celebrating the reintroduction of H.R. 14, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act:
“For democracy to work for us, it must include us all, regardless of race, background, or zip code. We applaud the reintroduction of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore and strengthen the Voting Rights Act — repairing the persistent and pervasive damage done by anti-voter and anti-freedom extremists.
“Ten years ago, the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder dealt a devastating blow to the Voting Rights Act, undermining its core protections and leaving communities of color facing intensified efforts to suppress their voices at the polls. Since then, our coalition and partners have been working tirelessly to protect and expand voting rights across the nation.
“The Voting Rights Act has a long history of bipartisan support. We applaud our elected officials who have responded to the call of the majority of people in this country who support new legislation to protect the vote. We need federal action now.
“Together, we can preserve and expand upon the promise of the Voting Rights Act and create a more just and equitable society for all. That is why we urge Congress to pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to fully restore and strengthen the VRA and protect our freedom to vote.”
The Voting Rights Act has a long history of bipartisan support. Every time the law has been reauthorized, it has been signed into law by a Republican president. When it was reauthorized most recently in 2006, it passed the Senate with unanimous support: 98 to 0 with 53 Republicans, 44 Democrats, and one Independent.
For more information about the impact of the Shelby County decision, visit here. On June 25, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Shelby County v. Holder that jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination in voting were no longer required to submit voting changes for advance review (“preclearance”) by the federal government or a federal court — essentially gutting the power of the VRA to protect against voting discrimination before it happened.
The Shelby County decision unleashed a torrent of voter restrictions, tactics, and schemes that have continued to this day in their intensity. These have targeted people of color and low-income people by design and paved the path for restricting other rights and freedoms, including the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision. In June, on the tenth anniversary of the Shelby County decision, we released a report on the decade-long harm to democracy caused by the ruling.
For more information about how to engage, educate, and empower our communities to protect and defend our democracy, visit AndStillIVote.org.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 240 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.