Statement on Seventh Anniversary of Shelby County Decision
San Jose, Calif. – Committee on House Administration Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) issued the following statement today marking the seventh anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which invalidated key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, leaving American voters vulnerable to tactics of suppression and discrimination:
“Seven years ago, writing for the majority in the poorly-reasoned 5-4 Shelby County decision, Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged that ‘voting discrimination still exists; no one doubts that.’ Since that time, voters have been deprived of the full protection of the Voting Rights Act for three federal elections, with a fourth rapidly approaching. Sadly, as we see with each passing election, free and fair access to the ballot has too often worsened since Shelby County.
“Immediately following the Court’s ruling, states moved to quickly enact suppressive voter laws, as detailed by the Subcommittee on Elections of the Committee on House Administration Chairperson Marcia L. Fudge’s Report on Voting Rights and Elections Administration in the United States of America.
“Under Chairperson Fudge’s leadership, the Subcommittee undertook an exhaustive review of elections administration and voting rights post-Shelby County, holding eight hearings and one listening session in eight states and the District of Columbia, hearing testimony from more than 60 witnesses, and collecting more than 3,000 pages of testimony and documents.
“The Subcommittee found persistent discrimination in voting law changes such as purging voter registration rolls, cut backs to early voting, polling place closures and movement, voter ID requirements, implementation of exact match requirements, lack of language access and assistance, and discriminatory gerrymandering of legislative districts at the state, local, and federal level. As a result of the Shelby County decision, these suppressive changes were implemented without going through the preclearance process to review discriminatory purpose or effect.
“The Democratic majority in the House of Representatives worked diligently to re-establish key provisions of the Voting Rights Act and put these blatantly discriminatory attempts to rob minority groups of their voting voice right back where they belong—firmly in the past. In passing H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, the House acted to ensure that every vote counts, and every eligible voter is able to exercise their right to vote, regardless of skin color or place of residence. The Voting Rights Act has long enjoyed bipartisan support, last renewed under a Republican-controlled Congress and signed by President George W. Bush – it is long past time the Senate honor this tradition by bringing H.R. 4 to the floor for consideration.”
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