Target: Representatives James Sensenbrenner and John Lewis
Goal: Thank Representatives for protecting voting rights
James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, is joining the chorus of lawmakers on both sides of the isle to restore key provision of the Voting Rights Act, which was recently struck down by the Supreme Court. In 2006, Sensenbrenner and John Lewis (D-GA) led the extension of the law. Mr. Sensenbrenner needs to hear that people support him in his efforts to protect voting rights in America.
In June 2013, the Supreme Court stroke down the key provision of the VRA, namely section 4, which determines how states are covered under section 5. Section 5 requires that states with the worst history of voting discrimination clear their voting changes with the federal government. Section 4 provided a formula for such states, which were obligated to seek approval from the Justice Department before changing any election laws. After the ruling, many states with history of disenfranchisement are implementing voter suppression laws that were previously banned by the Justice Department: Texas, Virginia, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, among others.
Rep. John Lewis told ABC’s Jeff Zeleny, “What the Supreme Court did was to put a dagger in the heart of the Voting Rights Act.” He urged Congress to act without delay. Rep. Sensenbrenner echoed Mr. Louis’s demand: “The Supreme Court said it’s an obligation of Congress to do this. That’s a command of a separate but co-equal branch of government to do that.” Unfortunately, not all Republicans share their colleagues’ concerns. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) recently held a hearing on the issue but has yet to voice his support for legislation that Mr. Sensenbrenner and Mr. Lewis are proposing. Sign below to join their call to action.
Dear Representatives Sensenbrenner and Lewis,
Thank you for your efforts to restore voting rights protections, gutted by the recent Supreme Court decision. After the court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, many states are moving ahead with restrictions on voting. Texas, Virginia, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina are among the states that are immediately moving to restrict early voting, voter registration and require voter IDs.
Democracy is good for all political parties in the U.S., and it is the job for Congress to restore the protections that the Voting Rights Act provided to people who live in the states with a history of problems with voting. Section 4 of the VRA required that such states get a preclearance from the Justice Department before changing any election laws. Now it is invalid, and we see the consequences of this change already.
Thank you, Mr. Sensebrenner and Mr. Lewis, for your leadership on the VRA. Please talk to your colleagues and convince them to support a bipartisan effort to rewrite Section 4 so that the rights of minorities are protected.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Gabeuscorpus via Flickr