Six Years After Shelby Decision, HRC Joins Partners to Push for Voting Rights Protections

Six years ago this week, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted critical protections in the landmark Voting Rights Act.

HRC is joining with the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and other coalition partners for the Shelby Week of Action, marking six years since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby v. Holder, which gutted the Voting Rights Act, and urging Congress to restore critical voting rights protections nationwide.

“In the six years since the Shelby decision, we have seen state after state pass discriminatory voter suppression laws that target marginalized Americans, particularly people of color,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Expanding access to the ballot box and protecting our democracy are central to the fight for full equality. We join with our coalition partners across social justice movements to urge Congress to honor the legacy of Selma by restoring these crucial protections for all Americans.”

HRC has previously endorsed the Voting Rights Advancement Act, critically important civil rights legislation that would ensure fair access to the ballot for all Americans. The legislation is sponsored by Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

On June 25, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a blow to civil rights in Shelby County v. Holder by striking down a key provision in the Voting Right Act (VRA). Since the Supreme Court’s ruling, states and localities have brazenly pushed forward discriminatory changes to voting practices, including changing district boundaries to disadvantage select voters, instituting more onerous voter identification laws and changing polling locations with little notice. These laws especially disenfranchise people of color, the elderly, low-income people and people with disabilities. Voters are more vulnerable to discrimination now than at any time since the Voting Rights Act was signed into law more than 50 years ago.

HRC President Chad Griffin recently penned an op-ed with Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP, on the importance of voting rights for LGBTQ people, particularly LGBTQ people of color.

Within the LGBTQ community, people of color, LGBTQ youth and transgender individuals are often the most affected by weakened voting rights laws. A recent poll found that Black and Latinx voters were three times as likely as white voters to report trouble finding their polling place. With one-third of transgender people reporting having no government identification that reflects their gender identity, voter ID laws often forcibly “out” transgender voters to poll workers, putting them at risk for discrimination and harassment.

The Shelby Week of Action is June 24-30th. To learn more, here.