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Maloney Statement on Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

Aug 6, 2020
Press Release

Maloney Statement on Anniversary of the Voting Right Act

Newburgh, NY - 55 years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law. This landmark legislation of the civil rights movement expanded access to the ballot box for millions of Americans across the country. Despite strong bipartisan support for the bill, key provisions of the Voting Rights Act were struck down in 2013 by the United States Supreme Court, including measures that block racial discrimination in voting access. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) released the following statement:

“Our vote is our voice. Today, on the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, we honor the brave men and women who fought for equal rights in communities across our country, including my friend John Lewis.

“The best way to honor John Lewis and our civil rights heroes is through action, and that includes restoring the full power of the Voting Rights Act. Mitch McConnell needs to stop obstructing the right of all Americans to vote, and pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act now,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.

The Voting Rights Act was gutted in 2013 by the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder. Since that decision, states have enacted restrictive voting laws, many of which have a disproportionate impact on communities of color and language-minority communities. These voter suppressive voting laws include voter I.D. and proof of citizenship laws, voter roll purging, the limitation of voting hours, and moving or eliminating polling locations.

In December of 2019, Rep. Maloney helped pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act, a critical bill restoring the full strength of the Voting Rights Act. The Voting Rights Advancement Act reestablishes full protections for voters in states with a recent history of discrimination. Among its key provisions, the bill:

  • In response to the Supreme Court decision, provides a new coverage formula that determines which jurisdictions are subject to preclearance, based on current conditions.
  • Also establishes “practice-based preclearance,” focusing administrative or judicial review narrowly on suspect practices that are most likely to be tainted by discriminatory intent or to have discriminatory effects, as demonstrated by a broad historical record.

Rep. Maloney’s first bill cosponsored in the 116th Congress was H.R. 1, the For the People Act. H.R. 1 would make a series of improvements designed to increase participation and make our elections more democratic. The bill would end “gerrymandering,” partisan redistricting which has allowed political parties to unfairly manipulate the boundaries of House districts. It would also mandate automatic voter registration, early voting, and vote by mail options. The For the People Act would also commit Congress to reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act, and modernize and strengthen our voting systems and election security. The bill passed the House in March of 2019.