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Essential Voting Rights Protections at Risk

Press Release / Last Updated:

 League Joins Amicus Briefs in Shelby County v. Holder case on Voting Rights Act (VRA)

Washington, D.C.  – Today, the League of Women Voters of the U.S. announced it has signed onto an amicus brief in the pivotal voting rights case, Shelby County v. Holder.  At issue is whether Congress exceeded its authority under the 15th Amendment to fight racial discrimination in voting by enacting the 2006 amendments to the Voting Right Act (VRA), which were signed into law by President Bush.  Section 5 contains special enforcement provisions covering those areas of the country where Congress demonstrated that significant racial discrimination against voters still continues.

"The Voting Rights Act is an essential part of American democracy.  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.  “Based upon a record of thousands of pages of testimony, Congress knew what it was doing in 2006.  It would be wrong for the Supreme Court to substitute its will for that of our elected representatives in Congress.”

The League of Women Voters of South Carolina also joined a brief in this case.  That brief provides a strong narrative specific to the State of South Carolina on current threats to voting rights and how Section 5 has helped improve the situation.

“The VRA ensures that every American has an equal right to vote and has been one of the most important gateways for voter enfranchisement in the modern era, helping to transform American democracy from a restricted, segregated past to one of remarkable inclusion,” according to Barbara Zia, co-president of the League of Women Voters of South Carolina.  “Our democracy still needs the Voting Rights Act.”   

“The importance of this case simply can’t be overstated,” said MacNamara.  “Without a strong VRA, voting rights are left without vital protections, and we can expect to see states consider a range of restrictions on voting and changes to electoral systems 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. The League has long supported the VRA as a fundamental guarantee of the rights of American citizenship and has worked for its reauthorization and enforcement. 

Contact Kelly Ceballos at [email protected] to find out more or to schedule an interview.

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