WASHINGTON, D.C. – In advance of the 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” Selma voting rights march this weekend, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) today continued her ongoing efforts to strengthen voter protections by backing the bipartisan Voting Rights Amendment Act. This bill would restore critical voting protections and safeguard Americans’ most basic and fundamental right – the right to participate equally in our democracy by way of the ballot.
“As we recognize the 50th Anniversary of the historic ‘Bloody Sunday’ march for voting rights in Selma this week, and the landmark Voting Rights Act later this year, we are reminded that some American citizens are still struggling for their right to vote,” said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. “To help achieve this basic democratic right, Congress must pass the Voting Rights Amendment Act, a bipartisan fix to the Voting Rights Act that embraces the bold declaration of our Founding Fathers that all men are created equal.”
This legislation would restore vital voting protections in light of the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision that invalidated a key section of the 50 year old Voting Rights Act. In the first year after the Shelby County v. Holder decision, 10 voting changes in seven states have raised concerns about voter discrimination. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights has documented 148 separate instances of discrimination in voting between 2000 and 2014.
Specifically, the Voting Rights Amendment Act would :
• Enhance the power of federal courts to stop discriminatory voting changes from being implemented,
• Provide a formula to require preclearance for all changes in places with numerous recent voting rights violations,
• Create new nationwide transparency requirements that help keep communities informed about voting changes in their community, and
• Continue the federal observer program that combats racial discrimination at the polls.
Bustos urged action on the Voting Rights Amendment Act last Congress and video of her speaking about her efforts is HERE. Last April, Bustos spoke at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the 1964 Civil Rights Act at Bradley University in Peoria. Also speaking was Congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis (GA-05), who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Selma to Montgomery marches.