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Championing the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in Shelby County v. Holder

On Wednesday, February 27th, the Supreme Court will review Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, a case that questions the constitutionality of Section 5 the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965, the landmark legislation that outlawed discriminatory voting practices. The League firmly believes the Supreme Court must uphold Section 5 or it would erase 50 years of progress for minority voters.

We are proud to have signed onto an amicus brief to signify our support for Section 5 and to ask the Supreme Court to uphold the lower court’s ruling. We are joined in this effort by the League of Women Voters of South Carolina, which has signed onto a state brief that addresses how Section 5 helped implement and clear a Voter ID law in South Carolina.

When the Voting Rights Act was last reauthorized in 2006, Congress declared that without its protections, “racial and language minority citizens will be deprived of the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.”

“The thought that the Supreme Court might overrule Congress and take away voting rights should send a chill down the spine of every American,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, national President of the League of Women Voters.  Without Section 5, warns MacNamara, “we can expect to see states consider a range of restrictions on voting…unparalleled since the days of Jim Crow.”

For more than 90 years, the League has worked to protect every American citizen’s right to vote. As Shelby v. Holder approaches, we hope that the Supreme Court recognizes that our democracy still needs the Voting Rights Act.