ACLU Report on the Voting Rights Act

The ACLU submitted this report, “The Case for Restoring and Updating the Voting Rights Act: A Report of the American Civil Liberties Union 2019,” to the House Judiciary Committee in support of the committee’s record for the Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4). The report highlights how voting practices denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, ethnicity, and language minority status persist in a manner that is flagrant and widespread. The report urges Congress to exercise its constitutional authority to enact strong federal protections for the right to vote through passage of the Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4).  

The report is divided into four parts. First, we provide a brief overview of the conditions leading to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and review the Act’s provisions, as well as changes made in subsequent reauthorizations to update its protections. Second, we provide an analysis of current law governing Congress’s power to enact remedial legislation to address voting discrimination after the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which effectively halted the Act’s preclearance remedy. Next, we provide information on current conditions of voting discrimination since the last reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act in 2006 based on the ACLU’s litigation experience and other advocacy work and identify weaknesses in current enforcement mechanisms. Finally, we review key provisions of the Voting Rights Advancement Act we believe are minimally necessary to provide protection against voting discrimination. The appendix of this report includes summaries of all the voting rights cases the ACLU was involved in that were active as of or filed in 2006 or later.

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