Human Rights Campaign Calls for Swift Action on Bill to Combat State Laws That Disenfranchise Voters, Particularly LGBTQ+, BIPOC and Other Marginalized Groups
WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — hailed the reintroduction today of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act aims to protect ballot access for marginalized populations such as LGBTQ+ people, Black and Brown people, the elderly, low-income people and people with disabilities — rights that have been under threat in recent years from anti-equality lawmakers pushing for polling site closures, purges to voter rolls, laws designed to make voting more difficult, and other voter suppression efforts.
“The foundation of our democracy rests on making sure that everyone — everyone — has access to the ballot box. Politicians who want to pick their voters, rather than ensuring every person can fully participate in every election, have attempted to stack the deck through state laws that make it harder for people to make their voices heard,” said Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson. “For the LGBTQ+ community, which is under unprecedented legislative assault in state capitals across the country despite record support for nondiscrimination laws, preserving voting rights is essential to ensuring that lawmakers protect our rights instead of stripping them away. That’s why we urge Congress to take up and pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act without delay.”
Passage of the VRAA would correct a 2013 Supreme Court decision that improperly stripped away key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It restores the protections of the Voting Rights Act by:
Modernizing the VRA’s formula determining which states and localities have a pattern of discrimination;
Ensuring that last-minute voting changes do not adversely affect voters by requiring officials to publicly announce all voting changes at least 180 days before an election; and
Expanding the government’s authority to send federal observers to any jurisdiction where there may be a substantial risk of discrimination at the polls on Election Day or during an early voting period.
Many in the LGBTQ+ community — especially LGBTQ+ people of color — endure and fear discrimination while accessing the right to vote. A 2019 HRC Foundation survey found that:
Fear of or experiencing discrimination led 22% of LGBTQ+ adults, 35% of LGBTQ+ adults of color, 49% of transgender adults, and 55% of transgender adults of color to avoid voting in at least one election in their lives.
An issue with meeting voter identification requirements prevented 24% of LGBTQ+ adults, 35% of LGBTQ+ people of color, 42% of transgender people from voting in at least one election in their lives. Furthermore, 46% of transgender people of color said they did not vote in one or more elections in their lives specifically because their I.D. had an incorrect gender marker, name, or photo.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
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