With a floor vote expected Friday, Common Cause and it’s 1.2 million members are strongly urging every member of the U.S. House of Representatives to vote “yes” on the Voting Rights Advancement Act (HR 4). In a letter to House Members, Common Cause emphasized the critical importance of updating the protections of the Voting Rights Act after the landmark legislation was gutted by a highly controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder.
“Efforts to suppress the vote of historically underrepresented communities have skyrocketed in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Shelby decision and it is critical to pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act to safeguard every American’s right to vote,” said Sylvia Albert, director of voting and elections at Common Cause. “The tactics of vote suppression may have changed since the dark days of the Jim Crow South but the results are the same – those in power are gaming the system to determine who votes and who doesn’t. When states and municipalities repeatedly abuse the system to suppress the vote, they must be held accountable and the Voting Right Advancement Act would do just that.”
“We are strongly urging House Member to pass this vitally important legislation and are continuing our efforts to help move companion legislation in the Senate,” said Aaron Scherb, Common Cause’s director of legislative affairs. “Common Cause has informed lawmakers that we will key-vote final passage of the Voting Rights Advancement Act, in our Democracy Scorecard, which we send to our 1.2 million members. The right to vote is simply too important not to safeguard by passing the Voting Rights Advancement Act.
The letter notes that since the Shelby decision there has been a significant spike in the use of voter purges, strict voter ID, signature mismatch requirements, poll closures, intimidation, disinformation, and numerous other tactics to try to suppress eligible voters, who are frequently from communities of color.
The letter emphasizes that the Voting Rights Act, has been reauthorized five times by Congress with strong bipartisan congressional support and the signatures of five Republican presidents. The Voting Rights Advancement Act would ensure that communities of color, service members returning from overseas, and Americans of all stripes can exercise their most fundamental right to vote.
Two Common Cause experts testified at several of the more than one-dozen congressional hearings conducted around the country to compile a substantial legislative record and demonstrate the need for a robust and modernized Voting Rights Act to stop these voter suppression tactics once and for all.
Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) deserves credit for championing the Voting Rights Advancement Act, marshaling support, and seeing it through to a vote.
To read the letter, click here.