Voting Rights

Voices Across the Country Stand Up for the Voting Rights Act

As the Supreme Court begins hearing arguments challenging this crucial piece of civil rights legislation, voices have been pouring in from around the country in support:

USA Today: Uphold Voting Rights Act

“The effect over time was dramatic. Voter registration and political representation for blacks, Latinos and Native Americans in states covered by Section 5 grew substantially. To make sure that progress would continue, Congress repeatedly reauthorized the 1965 Act, along with its pre-clearance requirement for parts or all of 16 states, most recently in 2006. Today, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether things have improved enough that pre-clearance is no longer needed, and therefore an unconstitutional burden on the covered states. The answer is no. The requirement should stand.”

Los Angeles Times: Judging the Voting Rights Act

“Judicial second-guessing of Congress is especially inappropriate in the voting rights context. The Constitution explicitly empowers Congress to "enforce … by appropriate legislation" the 15th Amendment's guarantee that the right to vote "shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude," as well as the 14th Amendment's guarantee of "equal protection of the laws." In extending Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, Congress exercised its authority by huge majorities — majorities that included representatives and senators from states subject to preclearance. There is no reason for the court to substitute its own judgment about how best to secure voting rights in the 21st century.”

Baltimore Sun: Voting Rights Act isn't obsolete

“Perhaps the day will come when such a law is wholly unnecessary anywhere in the United States, but that time has not yet arrived. If anything, recent events suggest Section 5 should have a broader application, but that, too, is a matter for Congress. It shouldn't be the job of the nation's highest court to roll back the rights of minority voters, whether in Shelby County or anywhere else. States that don't discriminate in matters of election law have little to fear from enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. Those that do shouldn't have the Supreme Court on their side.”

Washington Post: The Voting Rights Act’s work isn’t finished

“In reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act seven years ago, a bipartisan majority of lawmakers — 390 to 33 in the House, 98 to 0 in the Senate — determined that the evidence justified maintaining pre-clearance. Shelby County and its allies have not given the high court reason enough to repudiate Congress’s resounding judgment.”

Additionally, moving op-eds have been penned by our nation’s civil rights leaders and Members of Congress in support of the Voting Rights Act:

Rep. John Lewis: Why we still need the Voting Rights Act

“The right to vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have in a democracy. I risked my life defending that right. Some died in the struggle. If we are ever to actualize the true meaning of equality, effective measures such as the Voting Rights Act are still a necessary requirement of democracy.”

Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner and Rep. John Conyers: Voting Rights Act provision again has day in court

“The Supreme Court has significant and consistent precedent to follow at this juncture. Based on ample legal precedent and our systematic review during reauthorization, we expect the Supreme Court to continue to declare that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is critical to protecting minority voting rights into the 21st century.”

Wade Henderson: Voting Rights Act's Section 5 Still Stopping Discrimination Today

“Sadly, efforts to deny the right to vote based on race are not a thing of the past—they are a contemporary reality. In the 2012 election alone, efforts to discriminate against millions of minority voters were stopped only because they were in geographic areas protected by Section 5.”