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Voting Rights Act Bill: Critical First Step to Improve Elections

From its first days, the Voting Rights Act united members of both parties. Critically, this proposal continues that bipartisan approach. We need an election system that works well for everyone, and doesn’t tolerate discrimination against anyone.

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 or 646–292–8356.