Progressives Fighting to Put Teeth Back into Voting Rights Act

Progressive organizations are urging Congress to pass the Voting Rights Amendment Act (H.R. 3899), which would restore many of the voter protections scrapped in a June 2013 Supreme Court decision.

When the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court stripped a key section from the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA) last summer, it effectively put Congress in charge of repairing the historic legislation.

Click here to watch the Machinists News Network video, “Amend the Voting Rights Act!”

The High Court struck down Section 4 of the VRA, which lays out the formula to determine which states and localities have a history of voter discrimination and warrant federal preclearance of voting laws before they go into effect. Since then, numerous states, mostly in the South, have passed laws making it more difficult for minorities, the elderly and young people to vote.

North Carolina’s new law – one of the most extreme examples – will require voters to present a government-issued photo ID, ends same-day registration, eliminates a week from early voting and ends a high school civics program that encourages students to register to vote.

“Within a day we saw some states start to take actions to remove some of the protections in order to lower the vote count,” said Hadar Susskind, Policy Director for Bend the Arc, a Jewish-American civil rights organization.

Bend the Arc, along with other progressive groups and the IAM, are urging Congress to pass the Voting Rights Amendment Act (H.R. 3899), which would restore many of the protections the Supreme Court took from the VRA. It has 171 co-sponsors in the House, but no Republican co-sponsors in the Senate.

“We will make sure our membership goes out and lets people know our voice will be heard,” said IAM Legislative Director Hasan Solomon. “We will let people know we support a democracy and the ability to participate in the process.”

Click here to watch the Machinists News Network video, “Amend the Voting Rights Act!”