Take a Stand for Voting and Voter Rights
This week we observe National
Voter Registration Day, a nationwide-effort to promote civic engagement by
empowering individuals to participate in the electoral process. The final push
to register voters before the midterm elections is essential, yet we know that
our work is also needed to restore critical voting rights protections in our
electoral system. In the absence of congressional action, voters will go to the
polls this November without key protections contained in the Voting Rights Act for
the first time in 50 years.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) is 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. It has subsequently
been reauthorized four times with strong bipartisan support. In June 2013, the
Supreme Court issued a decision in the case of Shelby County v. Holder that
suspended the use of the most effective protections against racial
discrimination in the Voting Rights Act, thus rendering other sections of the
VRA which remain intact to be insufficient alone in ensuring such protections.
protections against discrimination and bias provided by the Voting Rights Act,
millions of voters face the prospect of having their right to vote undermined
with no meaningful redress.
In light of the court’s decision, a bipartisan group of
lawmakers has introduced legislation offering modern, flexible and
forward-looking protections against racial discrimination in voting in every
part of the country. The Voting Rights Amendment Act (HR 3899/S 1945)
provides commonsense fixes to the gaps in voter rights protections created by
the Supreme Court decision, while also addressing the Court’s concern about the
need to modernize existing law.
Voting is at the heart of the democratic process. It is the
most fundamental access point for individuals to 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 addressing obstacles to participation in the
electoral process within the broader context of the civil rights struggle. This
witness is grounded in the understanding that justice cannot be achieved unless
the rules governing the democratic process are fair to all.
Take action! Urge
your members of Congress to support the Voting Rights Amendment Act.
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