Let’s Have Quick Action on the New Voting Rights Act

Let's Have Quick Action on the New Voting Rights Act

Congress took a crucial initial step on Thursday toward restoring key provisions of the Voting Rights Act that were thrown out by the Supreme Court last summer.

The Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014, introduced by Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-WI and John Conyers, D-MI, in the House and by Sen. Pat Leahy, D-VT, in the Senate, is bipartisan legislation that would strengthen voting opportunities for all eligible Americans and maximize participation in our democracy. Specifically, key provisions of the bill would:

  • Require four states — Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas — and smaller localities with a history of restricting voting rights to obtain “preclearance” from the Department of Justice before changing the way they run their elections. The requirement covers things like changes in voting locations, voting hours, or early voting opportunities;
  • Require that any jurisdiction that attempts to change its voting procedures must post those changes online;
  • Expand the “bail-in” provision to make it easier for a federal court to identify discriminatory voting practices.
  • Common Cause has called for House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor to schedule a vote on the new Voting Rights Act, HR 3899, within six months. While the legislation is far from perfect, it would enhance voting opportunities for many Americans. Please contact your members of Congress to encourage them to cosponsor the Voting Rights Amendment Act today and tell them how important it is to expand voting instead of making voting more difficult.