**MEDIA RELEASE** For Immediate Release
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
(202) 224 – 6225
_Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 Would Protect Americans’ Across the Nation from Discrimination in Voting_
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Two years since the Supreme Court gutted core
protections in the Voting Rights Act in _Shelby County v. Holder_,
states and localities throughout the country have passed sweeping laws
that disproportionately suppress the voting rights of minorities. These
laws have left voters without the protections they need to exercise
their constitutional right to vote. To restore and advance the voting
protections for all Americans, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin has joined a group of Senate and House Democratic lawmakers, led by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.), to introduce the Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA) of 2015.
“For nearly 50 years, the Voting Rights Act helped secure the right to
vote for millions of citizens. I was deeply troubled by the 2013 Supreme Court decision to gut a fundamental provision of the law that protected Americans against voting discrimination and helped ensure a fair and equal voting process. Since that decision, we have seen how the clocks have been turned back on the most fundamental of our American rights and how there is a real threat to voter participation among Americans who have experienced discrimination when voting. I am proud to join with my colleagues in the Senate and House to make this right by working together to end voting discrimination and guarantee that all Americans have equal access to the polls,” SAID SENATOR BALDWIN.
“The Voting Rights Advancement Act is a voting rights bill for all
Americans. It is a bill for the next generation, and helps protect the
legacy of the previous generation who fought so hard five decades ago
for these voting rights protections,” SAID SENATOR LEAHY.
“If it was not clear in 2014, I think it is clear today that we have
come a great distance in this country toward healing the divisions and
problems among us, but we are not there yet. This legislation
acknowledges that we still have much more work to do, but we have come too far, and we have made too much progress to stop now. I support this legislation and hope that this Congress will do what is right by the people of this nation and pass the voting right legislation that restores justice, dignity, and equal access to the ballot box in
America,” SAID CONGRESSMAN LEWIS.
Protections under the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 will extend to all voters nationwide. The legislation targets certain voting
practices known to suppress the voting rights of minorities. The bill is
the result of collaboration with those at the grassroots who have
witnessed the harmful effects that discriminatory voting laws have had
in their communities.
KEY PROVISIONS OF THE BILL INCLUDE:
· A new geographic coverage formula that is based on current
conditions. The bill establishes a “rolling” nationwide trigger that
continuously moves so that only states that have a recent record of
racial discrimination in voting would be covered.
· Allows federal courts to bail in states for preclearance. Current
law permits states or jurisdictions to be bailed in if an intentional
violation can be shown. The new legislation offers more protection by
allowing a court to bail in states or jurisdictions whose voting
practices have discriminatory results.
· Greater transparency in federal elections to ensure that voters are
made aware of late-breaking changes in voting procedures. The additional sunlight will deter discrimination from occurring and protect voters from discrimination.
· Revises the standard for preliminary injunctions for voting rights
cases, allowing a court at the start of litigation to immediately halt a
challenged voting practice until a final ruling. This provision
recognizes that when voting rights are at stake, stopping a
discriminatory practice after the election has already concluded is too
late to vindicate voters’ rights.