Voting is a fundamental right in America. It is not merely a Democratic or Republican issue, but a human rights issue. Racial discrimination in voting is a reality that merits an urgent response. It is time for Congress to modernize the Voting Rights Act and restore the important voter protections that were crippled by the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder last year.
Discrimination in voting is not a thing of the past.
Since the Supreme Court’s decision in the Shelby case, many states and localities have pushed forward discriminatory changes to voting procedures, such as changing district boundaries and moving polling locations away from areas with high concentrations of minority voters.
ADC-Michigan has recently taken action to combat voter suppression attempts against Arab-Americans in Michigan when hundreds of people did not receive absentee ballots or had the requests unfairly denied in Dearborn Heights. ADC was joined by the NAACP and other civil rights organizations in its request for federal monitoring of elections in Dearborn Heights to prevent further attempts to supress the votes of Arab-Americans.
We need a modern Voting Rights Act that protects our voting rights.
The Voting Rights Amendment Act (VRAA) (HR 3899/S 1945) is a bipartisan bill that offers common sense fixes to update the VRA in response to the Shelby decision. The VRAA would amend the VRA and ensure a modern, flexible, and forward-looking set of protections to ensure an effective response to voting discrimination. If this bill is not passed before the mid-term elections in November, many Americans will lose their right to vote simply because of their race or lack of English language proficiency.
The time to act is now.
Every day that Congress fails to act, voters are in danger, and so is the most fundamental right in our democracy. If the right to vote is threatened, the integrity of our entire democracy is also threatened. Since the VRAA (HR 3899/S 1945) was introduced this January, the Senate has held one hearing on the bill, and the House has failed to act.