Rep. Chris Taylor statement on Voting Rights Act decision
Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court, in a 5 to 4 decision, overturned the heart of the Voting Rights Act, an historic civil rights law that seeks to pro-actively remedy the persistent disenfranchisement of African-Americans.
MADISON – Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court, in a 5 to 4 decision, overturned the heart of the Voting Rights Act, an historic civil rights law that seeks to pro-actively remedy the persistent disenfranchisement of African-Americans. The ruling will allow 9 states, primarily in the south, and some municipalities that have had a pattern of discrimination to change their election laws without federal approval. Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) issued the following statement in response:
“The 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA) was one of the most successful pieces of civil rights legislation ever passed. By requiring federal pre-approval of voting law changes in places where there has been persistent racial discrimination, the VRA sought to remedy centuries of rampant discrimination, Jim Crow laws and segregation against African-Americans, which resulted in disenfranchisement. Thousands of people risked their lives in the early 1960’s for democracy and for the right to vote. By effectively gutting the VRA, United States Supreme Court ruled against our democracy and against those who suffered greatly for the right to vote.
“The issues present in 1965, and in the prior three centuries, didn’t disappear when the VRA was passed nor in the subsequent decades. Though progress has been made, voter suppression continues in the form of voter identification bills and gerrymandered districts. Racial minorities continue to face obstacles to voting, particularly in states that have had a pernicious history of race discrimination. The Court’s misguided ruling reversed the commitment only Congress has the power to make — to proactively thwart efforts at disenfranchisement in places where it is likely to occur. Instead, five judges are content to allow legal challenges only after the fact, when the right to cast a meaningful vote has been forever lost.”