For Immediate Release
Contact: David Card
WASHINGTON, DC – The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) commends the House of Representatives for taking an important step to combat voter suppression by passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and urges the Senate to take immediate action.
There has been a rise in legislation proposed by state legislatures across the country designed to suppress the vote of people with disabilities, people of color, and youth voters, following historic turnout in the 2020 elections. The passage of such undemocratic laws are made possible by the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision, in which the United States Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965.
Prior to 2013, jurisdictions were subject to preclearance under Section 5 of the VRA, and jurisdictions with known discriminatory practices were required to seek approval before enacting voting changes. In the Shelby County ruling, the Supreme Court struck down the formula used to determine what jurisdictions are subject to federal preclearance. Immediately, jurisdictions with known discriminatory practices were free to make fundamental alterations to their elections without the crucial civil rights protections offered by federal preclearance. Following the enactment of strict voter identification laws, voter purges, and polling place closures, voters have increasingly seen their right to have their voices heard denied on Election Day.
For the past several years, Congress has introduced legislation that would restore the preclearance provision of the VRA, including the Voting Rights Advancement Act, recently renamed as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4). Congress must act to protect and restore voting rights in America, as voters need the protections of federal preclearance now more than ever. The recent Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee decision by the Supreme Court relies on a limited interpretation of the Voting Rights Act that allowed voter suppression laws to stand and will make it more difficult to challenge discriminatory voting laws. This decision reiterates the need for Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore the legislative purpose of Section 2 of the VRA. NDRN urges the Senate to take swift action and pass H.R. 4.
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The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.