Civil Rights Groups Unified in Call for Advancing the Voting Rights Amendment Act

May 15, 2014

Contact: Paloma Zuleta
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, civil and human rights leaders spoke out for congressional action on the bipartisan Voting Rights Amendment Act (VRAA) at a press conference at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. An archive of the recording will be available later today. The event was held one day after civil and human rights groups sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee stressing their unified support for advancing the VRAA.

Despite strong support for the VRAA from both sides of the aisle and the civil rights community, the House Judiciary Committee has yet to advance this bill. The civil and human rights leaders are calling on House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte and House leaders to move forward on the legislation with a hearing, a mark-up, and floor time to consider the VRAA.

Quotes From Today’s Event

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

“Voting is the language of American democracy: if you don't vote, you don't count. This principle has been echoed time and again by resounding bipartisan majorities in Congress and by presidents from both parties. The issue of voting rights has historically been, and will forever be, bipartisan. The House Judiciary Committee cannot shrink from this historic obligation. Our request is simple but urgent: give this bill the benefit of a full-throated congressional debate.”

Elisabeth MacNamara, president of the League of Women Voters

“If Members of Congress are saying they haven’t heard from their constituents, I don’t know what they are talking about because they certainly have heard from the League of Women Voters. Our League members in Virginia, for example, have done all they can to reach their delegation, including Representative Goodlatte, who has the power to call hearings on the VRAA in the House Judiciary Committee.”

Mee Moua, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC

“The Asian American Pacific Islander community is rapidly growing in states and localities historically covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and, accordingly, our electorate has been rising over the last decade—an increase of almost 2 million new voters between 2000 and 2012. But the goalposts to casting a meaningful ballot keep moving for ours and other minority communities so long as there is no solution to the pervasive problem of voting discrimination. That’s why the Voting Rights Amendment Act is so important.”

Brent Wilkes, executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)

“The cornerstone of our democracy is the right of every American citizen to vote. The progress we’ve made in minority voter participation has in large part been due to the protections afforded by the VRA. It’s a matter of urgency for the Hispanic community that Congress act now because our right to vote is under attack.”

Hilary Shelton, director of NAACP Washington Bureau

“Failure to advance this legislation gives a free pass to voting discrimination. As elections draw nearer, there are Americans who have already lost their right to vote solely because of their race or language. This cannot be allowed to happen. We urge Congress to give this bill real discussion and debate by moving forward with a hearing, a mark-up, and a real congressional process.”


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