Shelby v. Holder Ruling Continues to Undermine Voters of Color, Underscores Need for Right to Vote - Advancement Project - Advancement Project

Shelby v. Holder Ruling Continues to Undermine Voters of Color, Underscores Need for Right to Vote

We need more tools to make elections free and fair.

Washington – Advancement Project, a national civil rights and racial justice organization, released the following statement on the fourth anniversary of the Shelby v. Holder Supreme Court ruling, which gutted key provisions of the Voting Rights Act:

“In the years since the Supreme Court gutted key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, a flurry of jurisdictions have passed measures erecting barriers between people and their vote,” said Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director of Advancement Project’s National Office. “Without the VRA’s protections against racially retrogressive laws, the bulk of these measures are aimed specifically at keeping Black people and other communities of color the ballot. It is a disgrace to see our national leaders misdirecting the public with false claims about the integrity of our elections. Elections should be free and fair, and we should spend our efforts ensuring that every eligible voter can make themselves heard. Last week, members of Congress yet again introduced the Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would reinstate certain protections of the Voting Rights Act. This is commendable. Still, we should not have to rely on the political process to ensure that all people have a voice in our democracy. At heart, these issues underscore the need for a definitive, long-term solution: an affirmative right to vote.”

“While we call for definitive measures to protect the vote, we also commemorate important victories fueled by the voting rights movement in the states,” said Edward A. Hailes, General Counsel and Managing Director at Advancement Project. “From Virginia to North Carolina and beyond, grassroots organizations like New Virginia Majority are boldly continuing the work started generations before ours. We move forward in full awareness of our obstacles, and inspired by movement leaders in the past and the present.”

“While organizations like Advancement Project have successfully proved the racially discriminatory intent behind suppressive voting laws like North Carolina’s, we need more tools to make elections free and fair,” said Donita Judge, Co-Director of Advancement Project’s Power and Democracy Program. “Since before our country was founded, there have been individuals doing their best to keep Black people from voting. That goes against what our democracy stands for. We should coalesce around what works, increase citizen participation, remove barriers to voting, and affirm our right to vote.”

“In states like Missouri, it is impossible to separate the rise in Black power fueled by the Movement for Black Lives from attempts to curtail the voices of people of color at the ballot box,” said Denise Lieberman, Co-Director of Advancement Project’s Power and Democracy Program. “We should honor these movements, a most American form of improving democracy, by making it easier – not harder – to vote and enact change.”

In a 5-4 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, the Court struck Section 4 of the VRA in 2013. By doing so, the Court threw out the formula determining which states should be required to submit any changes to voting laws to the federal government for review, based on their troublesome histories of racially motivated voter suppression. The majority ruled that the “preclearance” formula was outdated, and tasked Congress with writing a new set of rules. Now, four years later, Congress has failed to do so.

Since the Shelby County ruling, states have passed new laws that impose barriers on the right to vote – from limitations on when and where voters can register and vote, to burdensome photo ID requirements. Many jurisdictions have also made shifts in election administration, including closing and relocating polling sites – often in communities of color.

###

www.advancementproject.org

Advancement Project is a multi-racial civil rights organization. Founded by a team of veteran civil rights lawyers in 1999, Advancement Project was created to develop and inspire community-based solutions based on the same high quality legal analysis and public education campaigns that produced the landmark civil rights victories of earlier eras.

KEEP READING

For Us By Us: Racial Justice Champions Fund the Movement

Colin Kaepernick and Jesse Williams Show Up for Racial Justice

Read More
Colin Kaepernick Puts Money Where His Mouth Is

Advancement Project is one of last organizations to receive portion of $1 million donation from former football player, social justice advocate

Read More
An Insider’s View of Today’s SCOTUS Arguments on Voter Purging in Ohio

January 10, 2018 Earlier today, the Supreme Court of the United States held the oral argument for Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute. This case concerns the maintenance of states’ voter rolls under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Originating in Ohio, the primary issue of the case concerns whether a state can use a voter’s inactivity to purge that voter from the state’s rolls. The state of Ohio maintained that these federal statutes supported its procedure, known as the Ohio Supplemental Process; the A. Philip…

Read More
Another attempt by politicians to decide who gets to vote went before the U.S. Supreme Court.

If they have their way, state officials will kick citizens off of the voter rolls simply for not voting in two consecutive elections.

Read More
Pence-Kobach “Election Integrity” Commission Shuts Down

The decision to dissolve the Pence-Kobach Commission reiterates what we already know: voter fraud is a farce.

Read More
On civil rights, we must reimagine freedom after Trump

The year since the election has been challenging. But this moment also presents us with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reimagine and rebuild.

Read More
Why do we strip some of the right to vote?

Not all freedom is equal. On July 4th, we remember the millions of people who are deprived of the right to vote even after their imprisonment has ended. As our partners @VOTENola say, the culture of criminalizing people and then taking their right to vote is firmly rooted in the Jim Crow era Watch Norris Henderson, Executive Director of VOTE, reflect on what it’s like to be deprived of full citizenship and the right to vote.

Read More
Advancement Project Files Appeal Brief Seeking to Restore Right to Vote In Louisiana

Louisianans believe in second chances and giving people the opportunity to do the right thing.

Read More
Statement on Florida Supreme Court Ruling on Gov. Scott’s Power Grab

No one can thwart the will of a people determined to effect change.

Read More
Statement from Advancement Project on Pence-Kobach Commission Meeting

We should take down barriers to the ballot and make elections more fair and accessible.

Read More