A Report: Voting Rights and Election Administration in the United States of America

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law, an attempt to address long entrenched racial discrimination in voting. Over the decades that followed, the Voting Right Act was amended and reauthorized several times, always on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis. Congress is entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the right to vote for every single eligible American, without undue burden or barriers. This responsibility is as essential today as it was in 1965. 

In 2013, the Supreme Court struck down Section 4(b), a key portion of the Voting Rights Act. The Court's The decision rendered a highly effective oversight tool known as "preclearance," which required states to submit their voting law changes to the Department of Justice for review of discriminatory tactics, unenforceable. This left millions of Americans once again vulnerable to old forms of discrimination in voting and opened the door for new forms of discrimination to emerge, without any federal oversight. 

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Robert acknowledged that "voting discrimination still exists; no one doubts that," and called on Congress to craft a new formula for preclearance that takes into account today's conditions. The Subcommittee on Elections of the Committee on House Administration set out to collect the evidence and information necessary to do just that.

The Subcommittee traveled across the country to meet voters where they live and vote.  Hearings were held in 8 states and the District of Columbia, more than 60 witnesses were called, several thousand pages of testimony, documents, and transcripts were gathered, and hours of oral testimony were delivered before Members of the Subcommittee. The evidence makes it plainly clear: America can and must do better. 

Read the report on Voting Rights and Election Administration in the United States below or download the PDF version here.