WASHINGTON, D.C., June 24, 2016 – Tomorrow marks the third anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder. Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee) issued the following statement:
“This year marks the first presidential election in more than 50 years without the full protections afforded to us by the Voting Rights Act,” said Clarke. “Since the Supreme Court's ruling in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder which gut a core provision of the Voting Rights Act, we have seen the resurgence of voting discrimination in many parts of the country where the law once applied. It is time for states to expand access to the ballot box by focusing on ways to bring Americans into the democratic process and time for Congress to take action to restore the Voting Rights Act.”
The past three years since the Shelby County decision have been marked by litigation and advocacy efforts aimed at confronting new voting rights challenges that have emerged since the Supreme Court’s June 2013 ruling. The Lawyers’ Committee has actively been advocating for and litigation on behalf of clients who have been negatively affected by burdensome voting restrictions across the U.S., including Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina and Utah. The nationwide nonpartisan Election Protection Coalition, led by the Lawyers’ Committee, has been actively working to educate voters and safeguard their right to vote. Along with partners on the ground across the country, the Election Protection ensures that all eligible voters have the opportunity to have their voices heard on Election Day. Since the start of the 2016 presidential primary season, Election Protection has received over 21,000 calls to the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline.
The Lawyers’ Committee is also working to advocate that Congress act on the bills before it to restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. Earlier this week, the Lawyers’ Committee issued a report examining voting rights restrictions that have been put into place since the Shelby County decision in 2013. The full report is available here.