Butterfield Statement on Subcommittee on Elections Report, “Voting in America: Ensuring Free and Fair Access to the Ballot”

Aug 6, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Subcommittee on Elections Chairman G. K. Butterfield released a staff report, “Voting in America: Ensuring Free and Fair Access to the Ballot.”  This report will be integral to providing a contemporaneous record of ongoing voter discrimination necessary to support H.R. 4 and the full enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.

“56 years ago today, President Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965, following bipartisan passage in Congress,” said Chairman Butterfield.  “In 2013 – and again in 2021 – the Supreme Court has dramatically weakened the protections of the Voting Rights Act.  As a result, since the 2020 election legislatures have swiftly enacted 30 discriminatory voter laws in 18 states.  To combat this wave of anti-democratic legislation, the Subcommittee on Elections has assembled an evidentiary record to support the full restoration of the Voting Rights Act to ensure all Americans have equal freedom to vote.”

In writing for the majority in Shelby County, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that “[t]he Fifteenth Amendment is not designed to punish for the past; its purpose is to ensure a better future.”  Moreover, the Chief Justice wrote that Congress must craft a remedy that “makes sense in light of current conditions.” 

To collect the contemporaneous evidence called for by the Court, the Subcommittee has held a series of five investigatory hearings in the 117th Congress with more than 35 witnesses to gather evidence of voter suppression and election administration practices that cause discriminatory harm to voters.  Today’s report summarizes the Subcommittee’s findings, which demonstrate several practices have a discriminatory impact on minority voters and can impede access to the ballot. The report will be integral to providing the evidentiary basis for H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Enhancement Act.

The Subcommittee’s investigation found that six voting and election administration practices exhibited significant evidence of discriminatory impact: (1) voter list maintenance and discriminatory voter purges; (2) voter identification (“voter ID”) and documentary proof of citizenship requirements; (3) lack of access to multi-lingual voting materials and language assistance; (4) polling place closures, consolidations, reductions, and long wait times; (5) restrictions on additional opportunities to vote; and (6) changes to methods of election, jurisdictional boundaries, and redistricting practices.

Click here to view the Subcommittee on Elections Report on Voting Rights: Ensuring Free and Fair Access to the Ballot.

Click below for the evidence and testimony collected at Subcommittee hearings:

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Congress Number: 
117th Congress