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Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 Introduced in U.S. Congress

New Bill Embodies Renewed Effort to Restore Voting Rights Act of 1965

Washington, D.C.  – Today, on the eve of the second anniversary of the Shelby County v. Holder U.S. Supreme Court decision that gutted key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), bicameral legislation was introduced to renew a nearly two-year effort to restore the historic law and its vital voter protections. The Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 was introduced this morning by Senators Leahy, Durbin and Coons and Representatives Lewis, Sewell, Sanchez, and Chu.

“We are very pleased that new legislation has been introduced in both houses of Congress,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, President of the League of Women Voters of the U.S. “This is an important step but there is so much more work to be done with the 2016 elections are quickly approaching.”

“In the past two years, Congress has done nothing to repair the damage to the VRA inflicted by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Shelby decision,” MacNamara said.

“As a result of this inaction, there has been more voter discrimination taking place at ballot boxes across the nation and we are getting dangerously close to having our first presidential election in 50 years without the critical protections once embodied in the VRA.”

“The League has been standing its ground on the fight against discrimination and for voting rights protections for 95 years,” said MacNamara. “Barriers to the ballot box may look different than when the League was founded, but discrimination continues and must be stopped. Every day the League is Making Democracy Work® by doing what we can to keep our elections fair, free and accessible. And tomorrow we will do just that as we join with voters in Roanoke, VA to rally for voting rights on the second anniversary of the Shelby decision.”

“Each and every eligible American voter deserves to be treated fairly at the ballot box. For nearly two years Americans have lived without some of the most basic yet important protections afforded to their right to vote,” concluded MacNamara. “Many of us hope that what happened today in Congress will act as a rallying cry for those who believe in free and fair access by every eligible voter.”

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Contact: Kelly Ceballos, 202-263-1331, kceballos@lwv.org.

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