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National Advocates for Civil Rights Call on Congress to rRestore Core Protections of the Voting Rights Act for Jurisdictions with a History of Voting Discrimination

Washington, D.C. (October 17, 2019) – Today, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law’s President and Executive Director, Kristen Clarke, testified before the Subcommittee on Elections of the Committee on House Administration during the “Voting Rights and Election Administration in America” hearing. In her testimony, Kristen Clarke called on Congress to pass HR 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019 (VRAA), which responds to current efforts to disenfranchise minority voters by restoring the full protections of the original, bipartisan Voting Rights Act of 1965,  last reauthorized by Congress in 2006, but gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013.

Clarke testified with Dale Ho, Director of Voting Rights Project at the ACLU and Deuel Ross, Senior Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, on their organizations’ support of the VRAA, which would establish a process for reviewing voting changes in jurisdictions nationwide and give the Attorney General authority to request federal observers anywhere there is a serious threat of racial discrimination in voting. Also included in the legislation are measures that have historically been used to discriminate against voters such as voter ID laws, removing inactive voters from rolls, and reducing multilingual voting materials.

“In important ways, we are farther away from victory in this battle than we were less than a decade ago,” said Clarke in her testimony. “Before 2013, we had the protection afforded by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which established a bulwark against discriminatory action in those states with a long and documented history of suppressing the rights of African Americans, Latinos and other voters of color. That protection is gone. Restoring the full protections of the Voting Rights Act and reactivatingthe Department of Justice is essential to achieving equal access to the ballot and equal representation.”

Read Kristen Clarke’s full testimony here

 About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 56th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest to “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development.