(Washington, D.C.) – Seven prominent civil rights leaders sent a letter on Wednesday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other Senate leaders demanding hearings and a vote to restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act in the wake of Congressman John Lewis’s passing.
The Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019, H.R. 4, would restore important protections of the Voting Rights Act that were nullified by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision. The provisions in this legislation include the creation of a new coverage formula to determine which states with repeated voting rights violations would be subject to federal preclearance requirements, the groups said in the letter.
Civil rights leaders also stressed the need to pass legislation to enact voting reforms that Congressman Lewis advocated for in the Voter Empowerment Act, H.R. 1275, including online and automatic voter registration, early voting and vote by mail without additional conditions.
The letter was co-authored by:
Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Melanie Campbell, president and CEO, convener, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
Vanita Gupta, president and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
Derrick Johnson, president and CEO, NAACP
Marc Morial, president, National Urban League
Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and president, National Action Network
Read the full letter here.