Post submitted by Remington A. Gregg, former HRC Legislative Counsel
Advocates are celebrating the 49th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), a landmark piece of legislation that prohibits racial discrimination in voting. The VRA passed overwhelmingly in both the House of Representatives and the Senate and was signed by President Lyndon Johnson on August 6, 1965.
Since then, Congress has reauthorized the VRA many times, and passage has always received widespread support. Last year, however, the United State Supreme Court ruled that a key enforcement provision in the VRA was unconstitutional. Civil rights advocates quickly mobilized and worked tirelessly to revise the law to ensure it was consistent with the Court’s mandate. The result is the Voting Rights Act Amendment (VRAA), a bipartisan, flexible, modern, nationwide solution to the problem of discrimination in voting that HRC is proud to support.
Yet, despite significant evidence that voting discrimination is still persistent and pervasive, Congress has failed to act, and the House of Representatives hasn’t even given the VRAA a hearing on its merits.
Member of Congress will use the August recess to speak to their constituents, which will be a perfect opportunity for citizens to ask their representative to support the VRAA. Time is of the essence.
For more information, you can read reports by several civil rights organizations that details examples of voting discrimination that persist and the need for passage of the VRAA: