[Syracuse, NY ] – Congress must pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act, a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to restore the full power of the Voting Rights Act, Syracuse community leaders said yesterday June 27th at a rally outside of the Federal Office Building on Thursday.
A coalition of non-profit organizations and civil rights leaders held the event outside of the Federal Office Building to mark the six years since the U.S. Supreme Court gutted key provisions in the Voting Rights Act in the Shelby County v. Holder decision. Since the ruling, states and localities across the country have enacted dozens of restrictive voting laws, disenfranchising millions of voters. This decision brought about a resurgence in discriminatory practices that, by design, restrict the voting rights of minorities throughout the United States.
“Today I rise to call on Congress to pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act, which is a key piece of legislation that will restore the voting rights protections in the Voting Rights Act. We need to pass this legislation to restore our ability to prevent racial discrimination in voting so that we can build the truly representative 21st-century democracy we deserve,” said Kevin Lockhart, Vice President of SEIU 1199.
For six years, civil rights organizations and allies have been fighting back against these discriminatory laws. But Congress must restore the full power of the Voting Rights Act to ensure that every voice heard, every vote is protected, and every vote is counted, said Christine Wood, Organizer with Public Citizen.
This year, the House of Representatives introduced the Voting Rights Advancement Act (HR4) which would restore the voting rights protections in the Voting Rights Act and provide the federal government with teeth to enforce the Voting Rights Act. Despite having 223 co-sponsors, Congressman Katko has yet to sign on.
In March, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the For The People Act, a groundbreaking democracy reform package that will remove barriers to the ballot box, end the dominance of big money in politics and curb the culture of corruption in Washington, D.C.
Together, these bills will ensure that we have a system that works for everyone, not just wealthy elites.