Posted by Austin Plier on June 26, 2015On Wednesday, June 24th, 2015, congressional Democrats filed new legislation designed to fix the Voting Rights Act in light of the 2013 Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder which struck down a core piece of the law. This new legislation comes after a bipartisan "Voting Rights Amendment Act," introduced on January 16th, 2014 by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-R) and Rep. John Conyers (MI-D), failed to gain enough support in Congress.
This new update to the Voting Rights Act--named the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015-- is a more ambitious fix that would actually expand the number of states covered under the original Voting Rights Act and includes new protections. These protections include federal approval for voter ID laws, redistricting, consolidation or relocation of polling locations, and reductions in bilingual material.
As Congress pursues needed legislation to protect voting rights, we hope more legislators will also join growing efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution to establish a right to vote. Contrary to popular belief, Americans do not actually have an explicit constitutional right to vote, which is precisely why legislation like the Voting Rights Act has been so crucial to this point. In today’s climate where the right to vote faces challenges in many states, establishing collective acceptance of it as a fundamental right is more important than ever.
Let’s support the Voting Rights Advancement Act in order to protect voting rights in states with a proven history of actions weakening voting rights, and let’s support House Joint Resolution 25 (which establishes a constitutional right to vote) to best honor voting as the cornerstone of our democracy and give voters the highest level of protection against disenfranchisement.