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.

Protect my voteThe 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 Rights Act?

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 all voters. 

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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