We need to restore the Voting Rights Act
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was a landmark piece of federal legislation that prohibited racial discrimination in voting.
The 2013 Supreme Court ruling, Shelby County v. Holder, dismantled portions of the Voting Right Act of 1965 (Section 4(b)) that required certain states and local governments with a history of voter suppression to obtain permission before changing election laws.
Congress needs to pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act that would:
- Modernize the pre-clearance formula to cover states with a history of discrimination
- Ensure last-minute voting changes won’t adversely affect voters
- Protect voters from the types of voting changes most likely to discriminate against any citizen
- Improve voting rights protections
The Rise of Voter Suppression
Since Shelby County v. Holder, Alabama, Arizona, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin have all passed laws making harder for people to vote – specifically black people, brown people, students, disabled people, public transit dependent, and the elderly.
For example, in 2015, a year after Alabama began enforcing a new voter-id law, the state shuttered 31 DMV offices in majority-black counties making it harder for people to get the id’s they now were required to have when voting.
In 2016, in North Carolina, the state cut hours and locations of polling places, forcing voters in some counties to wait several hours to cast a ballot. African American turnout dropped 9 percent.
In Wisconsin, Milwaukee had the lowest turnout for a presidential election in 2016 in two decades because of a new voter ID law.
In Florida, 1.5 million residents were disenfranchised because of a law that prevents formally convicted felons from voting.
“Voter Fraud” is a Fraud
“Voter Fraud” is a fraud. President Trump’s hyped-up claims about wide-spread voter fraud are flat out wrong. Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) came out and said he would not allow federal funds to pay for an investigation into non-existent voter fraud.
But that didn’t stop President Trump from creating a new voter fraud commission through Executive Order. President Trump’s decree provides cover for new voter-suppression laws being proposed in at least 20 states that will make it more difficult for people to vote.
How Do We Fix This?
We need to restore the Voting Rights Act to stop discrimination, then we need to pass laws that make it easier for people to vote. Such reforms might include:
- Make Election Day a Federal Holiday
- Support Automatic Voter Registration
- Support Same-day voter registration
What Can I Do?
Get a stamp, then get involved.
We’re building a movement. If Congress isn’t going to do anything about this, we the people have to make ‘em. Politicians still need people to vote for them to win. When enough people care about an issue and are willing to do something about it, it’s impossible to ignore. Help us build the movement to get money out of politics and stop the attack on voting rights. Together, we can send a message loud and clear to our elected representatives that we demand change.