Ever since the Supreme Court gave them the green light six years ago, states with a history of discrimination at the polling place have jumped at the opportunity to — once again — strip voters of their rights.
Where things stand
Since 2013, we’ve seen things like discriminatory voter ID laws, closed polling places, and even the near-criminalization of voter registration drives. And just last week, the Brennan Center released new research that shows 17 million voters were purged from registration rolls between 2016 and 2018.
As if on cue, Ohio’s Secretary of State announced he’s about to purge hundreds of thousands more, just days before an election. It works like this:
- The state sends snail mail to voters who haven’t voted in recent elections
- It cancels the registrations of those who don’t return the mailer
- Voters often don’t discover they’ve been de-registered until Election Day
The Supreme Court has given its approval to this practice, as well.
What you can do
It’s clear voters no longer have an ally in the highest court. But right now, Congress is considering legislation that could fix a lot of these problems.
It’s called the Voting Rights Advancement Act. We’re one of many groups partnering to hold Voting Rights Vigils nationwide on Tuesday, August 6 — the 54th anniversary of the original Voting Rights Act — to urge action on this important bill.
The Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4) would create a new “preclearance” formula, replacing the specific part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court struck down. Where voter suppression is worst, restoring preclearance would go a long way to protecting equal access to the ballot.
The bill also includes measures to require states to publicize the resources allocated to each polling place. (Historically, bad actors have sent fewer workers and voting machines to certain precincts, intentionally creating longer lines for voters of color.)
Can’t make it to a vigil on Tuesday? You can still make a difference by calling your elected officials! We’ve prepared a sample script for you here.
H.R. 4 is currently in front of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties. If your rep is on that committee, your call is especially important! Those members are:
Steve Cohen (TN), Jamie Raskin (MD), Eric Swalwell (CA), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA), Madeleine Dean (PA), Sylvia Garcia (TX), Veronica Escobar (TX), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX), Mike Johnson (LA), Louie Gohmert (TX), Jim Jordan (OH), Guy Reschenthaler (PA), Ben Cline (VA), Kelly Armstrong (ND)