ACLU Statement on Reintroduction of Voting Rights Advancement Act

June 22, 2017 10:45 am

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WASHINGTON — Congress reintroduced the Voting Rights Advancement Act today. The legislation is meant to strengthen voting rights by responding to the unique, modern-day challenges of voting discrimination, including expanding the federal government’s ability to monitor state election procedures. The bill was reintroduced by lead sponsors Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

Jennifer Bellamy, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said:

“Congress needs to enact the Voting Rights Advancement Act before the 2018 midterm elections. Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby v. Holder, which rolled back protections in the Voting Rights Act, more states have passed restrictive voting laws that disproportionately suppress turnout among minority and low-income Americans. These include cutbacks to early voting, restrictions on mail-in ballots, and requiring photo identification at polls.

“This bill would protect voters by requiring states with a recent history of voter discrimination to seek approval from the Department of Justice before making any changes to their electoral laws. Everyone should have a voice in our democracy. It is now more important than ever to enact protections against laws that seek to mute some voices.”

The legislation has been reintroduced in every Congress since 2015, when it was originally introduced.

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