Restore the Voting Rights Act
Voting is at the heart of the democratic process. It is the most fundamental access point for
individuals to engage in the public dialogue and have a voice in the public
policy decision-making process that can shape the future of our local, regional,
national and global collective life.
The UCC General Synod has long supported voting rights and advocated
for the removal of obstacles to participation in the electoral process within
the broader context of the civil rights struggle. Most recently, General Synod 29 decisively adopted a statement
calling on the church to publicly support voter’s rights through public
statements, advocacy and actions in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to
strike down part of the Voting Rights Act. This action was grounded in the
understanding that justice cannot be achieved unless the rules for governing
the democratic process are fair to all.
What is the Voting
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) is widely considered a
landmark piece of civil rights legislation that has been pivotal in helping to
bring about significant progress in efforts toward racial equality and justice
by addressing racial discrimination in the voting process. Since the bill’s passage in 1965, Congress
has voted to reauthorize the bill four times, most recently in 2006, with
strong bipartisan support, holding numerous hearings and collecting in-depth
testimony documenting the continued need for addressing persistent
discrimination in the voting process through the VRA.
In late June, the Supreme Court issued a decision in the
case of Shelby County v. Holder that suspended
the use of the VRA’s most effective protections against racial discrimination,
thus rendering other sections of the
VRA which remain intact to be
insufficient alone in ensuring such protections. The decision came despite the fact that there
is substantial evidence of continuing racial discrimination in jurisdictions
around the country, in the form of purging voter rolls, moving polling places,
gerrymandering district lines and voter intimidation on Election Day.
Congress can restore
the power of the VRA
In light of the Shelby
decision, members of the House and Senate have begun holding hearings to assess
a way forward toward restoring the VRA, grounded solidly on the constitutional
authority of Congress to protect voting rights.
The right to vote is a value that transcends
partisanship. It is time for Congress to
take the necessary steps to provide new, modern and effective protections for
Contact your members
of Congress and urge them to work toward restoring needed protections against
voter discrimination by updating and strengthening the Voting Rights Act.
This action is part of the UCC's broader observance of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Learn more and find resources.
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