WASHINGTON – Today, Damon Hewitt, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, released the following statement applauding the passage of the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act:
“This is much needed legislation that will update the archaic, loophole-ridden Presidential electoral certification process in Congress for the first time since it was enacted more than 135 years ago. Reforming the Electoral Count Act is a necessary initial measure to prevent manipulation of presidential election results by rogue members of Congress, state legislatures, and other state executives, which we saw on January 6, 2021. We must be clear, however, that while reforming the Electoral Count Act is a necessary step forward, it is far from sufficient.
While we applaud the passage of the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act, we continue to stress that it is only a back-end fix and not a solution. We are approaching the 10th Anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which abruptly gutted the strongest provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Since that time, the Supreme Court has continued to roll back voting rights and allowed state legislatures across the country to enact new laws that suppress the votes of Black people and other people of color.
Reforming the ECA will help ensure that voters are able to have their ballots counted and have their voices heard once they vote. However, it does not change the status quo of who gets an opportunity to cast a ballot in the first place, nor does it help voters overcome a barrage of racially discriminatory barriers to the ballot box. The act does nothing to break down those barriers that have been erected since the Shelby County decision and, as a result, does not go far enough to address the full scope of the problem of anti-democratic disfranchisement.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law will continue to pursue comprehensive voting rights legislation that addresses racial discrimination amid the wave of insidious voter discrimination laws we have seen from states since the 2020 election. We look forward to continuing our work with Congress to pass bold, pro-democracy legislation addressing the specific harms that Black voters and other voters of color face, including the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.”
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to mobilize the nation’s leading lawyers as agents for change in the Civil Rights Movement. Today, the Lawyers’ Committee uses legal advocacy to achieve racial justice, fighting inside and outside the courts to ensure that Black people and other people of color have the voice, opportunity, and power to make the promises of our democracy real. For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommittee.org