On June 25, 2013, the voting rights community endured a devastating blow when portions of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) was gutted. As we approach the six-year anniversary of the Shelby Co. v. Holder decision, we encourage all levels of Leagues to join us in a week of action to stress the importance of reinstating the VRA.
The week of action will start on Monday, June 24 and end on Sunday, June 30.
LWVUS Daily Actions
Links will be added as they become live.
Monday – LWVUS Action Alert launch
Tuesday – Call-in Day: LWVUS is encouraging Leagues to call and send letters to their members of Congress.
#RestoreTheVote Twitterstorm: 2pm ET
Wednesday – Blog post by Celina Stewart on LWV.org
Thursday – If SCOTUS decision on Rucho v. LWVNC, weave into social media messaging.
Friday – Continuing to message on social media
Below, find materials for you to use on social media, as well as recommended messaging for op-eds.
Six years after Shelby County v. Holder: Social Media Materials
Be on the lookout for an Action Alert from LWVUS on Monday, June 24, and a blog post on Wednesday, June 26. After these pages are live, a link will be included in the Daily Actions above. We recommend adding these links to some of your social media posts.
- Restoring the Voting Rights Act is about more than elections every few years: When our democracy is in peril, so are our civil rights. Building a gov. that’s representative of ALL its people is critical in solving some of our country’s most pressing challenges. #RestoreTheVOTE
- Our democracy works best when everyone can fully participate, no matter who they are or what their race or color. 6 years after Shelby County v. Holder, we’re calling on Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act by passing #HR4—the Voting Rights Advancement Act. #RestoreTheVOTE
- Six years after Shelby County v. Holder, Congress MUST pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore our ability to prevent discrimination in voting—and to build the truly representative 21st-century democracy our nation deserves. #RestoreTheVOTE
- The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is one of the most successful civil rights statutes ever enacted. It's past time for Congress to repair it. #RestoreTheVOTE
- Six years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted one of our nation’s most important and effective civil rights laws–the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It’s time for Congress to revive the heart of that law & restore it to its full & necessary strength. #RestoreTheVOTE
- Without a functional democracy in which everyone is included, heard, and represented, we cannot make real progress on other important civil and human rights issues. That's why Congress MUST pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act to #RestoreTheVOTE.
Op-ed Message Framework
The Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA) is a key piece of legislation that will restore the Voting Rights Act. Our primary goal is to make it clear that restoring the VRA is central to any effort to build a representative democracy in which people of color can be full, participating members.
Our democracy works best when everyone can fully participate, no matter who they are or what their race or color. When five justices on the Supreme Court gutted the VRA in the Shelby County v. Holder case, they made it easier for states and localities to revert back to discriminatory practices that restrict the voting rights of Black, Brown, Native, and Asian American people. It’s time we fix this injustice, so we have the tools to effectively combat current racial discrimination in voting. Congress must pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act and restore our ability to prevent racial discrimination in voting so that we can build the truly representative 21st-century democracy we deserve.
- In 2016 alone, 14 states imposed new restrictive voting laws for the first time in advance of a presidential election. By 2018, six states had new restrictive laws in place.
- Federal courts have determined intentional discrimination in at least 10 voting rights decisions since Shelby in 2013. [Fill in a specific case(s) to make this point if you would like.]
When our democracy is in peril, so too are our civil rights. We must have a working democracy in order to make progress on important racial justice issues like educational equity, justice system reform, and immigrants’ rights. [Fill in or swap in any issue.] Congress must restore the protections against racial discrimination that the Supreme Court has destroyed. Building a government that is representative of all its people is critical to our ability to solve some of our country’s most pressing challenges to improve conditions for us all.
- [Add any data, stories, facts about your issue of choice.]
Americans want a system that works for every voter. Millions of people have made it clear that they want to build a representative and functioning democracy where everyone, regardless of race or color, can participate. In 2018, voters turned out in record numbers to support laws and policies aimed at making voting more accessible and eliminating unnecessary, racist barriers to the ballot box. Congress must deliver at the national level by passing the Voting Rights Advancement Act to ensure that we have the tools we need to address current racial discrimination in voting.
- [Use any example of voters casting ballots for democracy reform and voting rights from 2018. Examples below:]
- Florida voters restored voting rights to 1.4 million voters with felony convictions, a disproportionate number of whom are Black and Brown.
- Nevada voters cast their ballot for automatic voter registration.
- Michigan voters cast a ballot for a suite of reforms including same-day and automatic voter registration.
Not every line of argument or angle is worthy of a direct response. Often our opponents lure us into talking about issues on their terms, not ours. We must resist this temptation.
The following pivots are designed to help you navigate tricky questions or conversations that are usually designed to knock you out of your lane and get off-message. Avoid the trap and stay consistent and on- message.
If you get questions that suggest high rates of turnout in communities of color is proof that there is no voter suppression, here’s a suggested pivot:
“Our democracy has to work for all of us – regardless of who we are or what color we may be. That means that we should make voting as accessible as possible. We should not have a system where Black and Latino voters must wait in long lines for hours in order to vote. The fact that more people are turning out despite the barriers that some policymakers have erected says more about voters’ commitment to our democracy, not how well the system is run.”
If you get questions that try to raise concerns about state sovereignty or federalism, here’s a suggested pivot:
“States do not have the right to discriminate. Everyone should be able to cast a ballot free from intimidation, discrimination, or coercion. It is a federal right. Our elected officials are responsible for ensuring that our collective voice is heard by investigating every instance when this right is violated and responding with laws that will protect them and keep infringements from happening again. Our democracy can only work when everyone – no matter who they are or what their race or color – can fully participate. This is precisely why we need to restore the Voting Rights Act and prevent further plots to silence our most vulnerable communities.”