Tuesday marked the launch of the first Congressional Voting Rights Caucus. The caucus held a press conference outside the Capitol, led by Co-Chairs Representative Marc Veasey (TX-33) and Representative Terri Sewell (AL-7) announcing the formation of the caucus and the policy goals it hopes to advance.
Members shared experiences from their districts that displayed the immense power that policies that alter or limit access to the ballot have on constituencies. Representative G.K. Butterfield (NC-1) described how the Voting Rights Act and banning literacy tests enabled citizens who had previously disenfranchised to register to vote and how access to the ballot greatly increased representation for African-American North Carolinians. Representative Raul Grijalva (AZ-3) described how changes in protections under the Voting Rights Act have allowed for the number of polling places in his state of Arizona to be drastically reduced resulting in long lines during recent primaries that sparked national scrutiny. These, among many other stories, clearly showed the immense power that laws governing voting rights have and how various policies and changes can have profound impact on particular segments of the voting population.
The Congressional Voting Rights Caucus policy priorities include passing the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015, the Voter Empowerment Act of 2015, the Voter Access Protection Act of 2015, and several others.