The League sent a letter to members of the U.S. House and Senate urging them to move the Voting Rights Advancement Act forward. The legislation responds directly and responsibly to the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder.

June 16, 2016

TO:        Members of the U.S. Congress

FROM:    Elisabeth MacNamara, President

RE:         The Voting Rights Advancement Act, H.R. 2867 and S. 1659

The League of Women Voters strongly urges you to enact the Voting Rights Advancement Act to modernize and repair the Voting Rights Act.  

The legislation responds directly and responsibly to the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder by updating the coverage formula for preclearance to ensure it is based on contemporary acts of discrimination and by providing mechanisms to prevent discrimination in voting nationwide.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) outlawed racial discrimination in voting and established procedures to protect equal access to the vote for every American citizen.  But in 2013, the Supreme Court overturned the key provision of the VRA that triggered careful review of voting changes in political jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination in voting before they could take effect.  Since that decision, politicians in states, counties, cities, and towns across the country have passed laws and adopted practices that discriminate against voters of color and language minorities -- making it harder for them to register and more difficult to vote 

The Voting Rights Advancement Act would accomplish three major goals:

It re-establishes preclearance coverage for states and localities with a history and pattern of discrimination in voting that relies on up-to-date information.

It provides preclearance nationwide for political subdivisions with substantial minority populations for a limited number of voting changes that historically have been found to be discriminatory, such as changes in methods of election and cuts in polling locations

It provides for greater transparency and public notice for late-breaking voting changes just before an election, changes in polling resources, and demographic and electoral data.  

It is an unfortunate fact that discrimination in voting against racial, ethnic and language minorities continues in America.  This should be unacceptable in the greatest democracy in the world.  The League of Women Voters urges you to support the Voting Rights Advancement Act.