Voting Rights Act Bill: Critical First Step to Improve Elections

January 16, 2014

Today, members of Congress introduced a bill to strengthen the Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court eliminated key protections last year.

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law released the following statement from President Michael Waldman:

“The Supreme Court gutted the core of the Voting Rights Act, removing a critical protection against discrimination in voting. We applaud these members of Congress for introducing this bill to help strengthen the law. Reps. Conyers and Sensenbrenner, as well as Sen. Leahy, have shown tremendous leadership. From its first days, the Voting Rights Act united members of both parties. Critically, this proposal continues that bipartisan approach. Voting rights should not be a partisan issue.  

“America was founded on the principle that we all are ‘created equal.’ To fulfill that promise, we need an election system that works well for everyone, and doesn’t tolerate discrimination against anyone. This bill is a crucial first step. We hope it gets stronger as it moves through the legislative process.

“We also expect the president’s bipartisan voting commission to issue recommendations soon, which states can adopt quickly to improve elections. We look forward to working with members of Congress and election officials across the country to modernize voting and bring our system into the 21st century. We should assure that only eligible citizens can vote — but every single eligible citizen can vote.”

Read the Brennan Center’s report, If Section 5 Falls: New Voting Implications. Also see our resources on Voter Registration Modernization, including our recent report, How to Fix the Voting System.

For more information, or to set up an interview, please contact Erik Opsal at erik.opsal@nyu.edu or 646-292-8356.