This week marks the two-year anniversary of Shelby v. Holder, the Supreme Court decision which gutted core components of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965. The Shelby case is devastating because for the last half century, the VRA has protected the right to vote for millions of Americans. Unless Congress updates the VRA, the federal government will be powerless to stop racially discriminatory election procedures from going into effect.
Congress has been unwilling to restore the critical protections of the VRA for two years -- however the need for voting rights protections has skyrocketed. In 2014, 21 states had new voting restrictions in place, followed by 17 states introducing 40 new voting restrictions in 2015. The 2016 election will be the first in 50 years where voters will not have the full protections of the VRA, which makes fixing the Voting Rights Act an urgent priority.
The Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 (VRAA), a bill just introduced in Congress by Sen. Patrick Leahy and Rep. John Lewis, will restore key voting rights protections. Most importantly, the VRAA will modernize the preclearance found in the original Voting Rights Act of 1965 and protect against voting changes that may be harmful or discriminatory.
Republican and Democratic administrations and Congresses alike have reauthorized the Voting Rights Act in full for decades, and there is no reason why we cannot all work together to restore the Voting Rights Act today.
Will you join us? Sign our petition to urge Congress to act quickly to restore the Voting Rights Act.