Last June, the day before the LGBT community‘s huge victory in U.S. v. Windsor, the Supreme Court delivered the broader civil rights community a blow when it invalidated a key provision of the Voting Rights Act – the formula prescribing which states and localities had to be pre-approved before changing voting laws and practices. Fortunately, the Court’s decision was limited in scope and did not bar Congress from creating a new formula. Since that day, the civil rights community has worked hard to revise the Voting Rights Act to ensure continued prevention of voting discrimination. HRC is proud to support the Voting Rights Amendment Act (VRAA), a bipartisan and commonsense approach to combating voting discrimination.
The bipartisan VRAA is a flexible, modern, nationwide solution to the problem of discrimination in voting. The legislation would provide new tools to get ahead of voting discriminating before it occurs and ensure that any proposed election changes are transparent. Every day that Congress fails to act, voters are in danger. Since the Supreme Court’s decision, states and localities have brazenly pushed forward potentially discriminatory changes to voting practices, such as changing district boundaries to disadvantage select voters and moving polling locations in areas with high concentrations of minority residents.
Transgender people are particularly vulnerable to voting discrimination, and may refuse to vote rather than out themselves or submit to burdensome and transphobic voting laws that can pass state legislatures now that the Voting Rights Act has been weakened. In addition, the LGBT community includes a diverse array of individual. Many LGBT people of color suffer from voting discrimination based on race. These vulnerabilities weaken our entire community’s voting power.
When the LGBT community went to the courts to defeat DOMA, or lobbied the Senate to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the broader civil rights community supported us every step of the way. Now, the LGBT community must be there alongside those fighting to pass the VRAA. House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has failed to schedule a hearing, and HRC is joining our coalition partners to call on Chairman Goodlatte to schedule one immediately.
Urge Chairman Goodlatte to give the VRAA a hearing. For more information, visit http://vra4today.org/.