In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision in the case of Shelby County v. Holder, which basically gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Immediately after the Shelby County v. Holder decision, states and localities that were no longer under federal oversight pushed through laws that have increased barriers to voting and diluted voting strength of people of color and language minorities.
In the primaries this year, we’ve seen jurisdictions once covered by the VRA make it harder for people to vote. Unless Congress acts, voters in 2016 will face the first presidential election in 50 years where they will lack the protections of the VRA to combat racial discrimination in voting. The right — and responsibility — to vote is foundational to our faith and our democracy.
Congress has the power to restore the Voting Rights Act protections by passing the Voting Rights Advancement Act. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte is blocking consideration of this bill, because he believes many elected officials are benefiting from these restrictive laws. This is self-interested and unjust. In response, Members of Congress have started a discharge petition that would free the bill from Rep. Goodlatte’s control and force a vote on the House floor. Please click here to urge your Representative to sign the discharge petition today. As people of faith, we cannot stand idly by while our brothers and sisters are stripped of their right to vote.