On behalf of the AFL-CIO, I am writing to urge you to vote for the Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R.4). This bill offers a flexible nationwide approach to protecting voters from discriminatory practices, and it is an important step toward restoration of the protections undermined by the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder. We urge you to oppose any motion to recommit.
The bill would establish a new preclearance coverage formula that is responsive to the discriminatory practices that have proliferated since the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder. As Chief Justice Roberts himself said in the Shelby decision: “voting discrimination still exists; no one doubts that.” Discriminatory policies have not only resurfaced in areas formerly covered by the Voting Rights Act’s preclearance requirement, but also have proliferated nationwide. State and local officials brazenly have imposed restrictive voting requirements, altered district boundaries, and shifted polling locations in ways that make voting more difficult and less accessible for many voters. The Voting Rights Advancement Act would address these disenfranchisement strategies, as well as others certain to develop.
The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy, and the effort to protect citizens from voting discrimination has been bipartisan for more than half a century. Indeed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 would not have passed without leadership from both political parties, and Republican presidents signed each Voting Rights Act reauthorization into law.
The integrity of our democracy depends on ensuring that every eligible voter can participate in the electoral process, and, thus, voting discrimination demands strong bipartisan legislative action. Every member of Congress should go on record today in support of this historic legislation.
Director, Government Affairs