Monday, August 6, marks the 53rd anniversary of the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA). The VRA abolished restrictions on black Americans voting in federal, state and local elections. In 2013, key components of the law were removed by the Supreme Court in its Shelby County v. Holder decision.
Alabama 7th District U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell on Monday said the the law must be restored.
“Today’s anniversary is a reminder that foot soldiers in Alabama and across the country fought, bled, and died for our right to vote,” saidSewell. “Right now, their work is under attack as states across the country pass strict voter ID laws, gerrymander electoral districts, and purge voters from their voter rolls. As we recognize the impact that Shelby County v. Holder has had on our democracy and its damaging effect on voter access, let us recommit to action in the face of voter suppression. We must restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act to keep our elections free and fair.
In June 2017, Sewell sponsored the Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA), which seeks to restore full protections to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 following Shelby County v. Holder. To address the Supreme Court’s concerns with the VRA, the VRAA would create a new coverage formula which requires federal oversight of states with repeated voting rights violations in the last 25 years.
If passed, 13 states nationwide, including Alabama, would be subject to federal election oversight due to a recent history of voter discrimination. It would also require states with a recent history of voter discrimination to seek approval from the Department of Justice before making any changes to their electoral laws.