Press Releases

Congressional Black Caucus Commemorates the Sixth Anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder Decision

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Washington, June 25, 2019 | comments

Today is the sixth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision. Congresswoman Bass, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congresswoman Marica Fudge, Chair of the Committee on House Administration Subcommittee on Elections, and Congresswoman Terri Sewell issued the following statement to highlight the current state of voting rights in America and the need for additional protections. 

“Today marks the sixth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision which gutted a key part of the Voting Rights Act,” said Chairwoman Bass.  “We know that voting rights in this country are constantly under attack and sadly, this decision added another blow to this ongoing fight. States across the country continue to pass voter suppression laws that range from strict voter ID laws to the purging of voters from rolls. Every day we are reminded that our rights to fully participate in our democracy are at stake. As a result, the CBC is fiercely fighting to ensure that the freedoms for which countless patriots fought and died for will never be eroded.” 

“There is no denying this country has made significant progress since the passage of the Voting Rights Act,” said Congresswoman Fudge.  “However, on this sixth anniversary of Shelby, we are reminded, and forced to recognize, there is still a long road ahead.  When Americans are forced to vote in chicken coops, pay modern-day poll taxes or wait hours to cast their vote, it is clear that states need federal pre-clearance when enacting changes to their voting practices.  It is the duty of our election officials to remove barriers to the ballot box for American citizens, not create them.” 

“Six years ago, the Supreme Court’s Shelby decision sent a simple message: voter suppression is a problem of the past,” said Congresswoman Sewell. “Many states, including Alabama, sent an equally straight-forward response: no, we have not. Congress must take up and pass H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, to stop the most egregious cases of voter suppression before they can take place. We must honor the legacies of the foot soldiers of the civil rights movement who marched, bled and died for the right to vote, and ensure that every American is able to make their voice heard at the ballot box.”

Background:

 

  • In its 2013 Shelby decision, the Supreme Court ruled the formula determining which states were covered by the Voting Rights Act – states which had barred minority voters from registering in 1965 – was outdated, invalidating the VRA's requirement that these states pre-clear election decisions with the Department of Justice. 
  • At the start of this year, Rep. Marcia Fudge, Chair of the Committee on House Administration Subcommittee on Elections, has traveled to six states to host field hearings on voting rights concerns. The hearings come in the wake of concerns that some voters are facing problems during election cycles.
  • Earlier this year, Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) introduced H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, to restore the VRA by developing a process to determine which states must pre-clear election changes with the Department of Justice. The bill has support from nearly 270 Members of Congress.
  • Livestream of CBC Member Rep. Terri Sewell’s press event is available here.
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