Menendez, Booker Cosponsor Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019 to Restore Full Protections of Landmark Legislation, Defeat Voter Suppression Efforts

Menendez, Booker Cosponsor Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019 to Restore Full Protections of Landmark Legislation, Defeat Voter Suppression Efforts

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker joined 45 of their Senate colleagues in introducing the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019 to restore and strengthen the key provisions of the original Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was gutted five years ago by the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder

“The right to vote is sacrosanct in any effective democracy and must be fully protected.  Free and fair elections are essential to having a government that is truly representative of and accountable to its people,” said Sen. Menendez.  “Efforts to roll back and undermine the Voting Rights Act have inevitably led to voter discrimination and disenfranchisement, especially among minorities and vulnerable populations.  Congress must act to strengthen these protections and eliminate obstacles to voting.”

“The right to vote is the right from which all others flow.  It must be defended.  We cannot go back to a time when millions of people—most of them people of color and low-income individuals—were silenced and disenfranchised through voter intimidation,” Sen. Booker said.  “Our bill ensures that this fundamental right will be protected for future generations to come.”

The 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder gutted Section 5 of the landmark Voting Rights Act, stifling the federal government’s ability to prevent discriminatory changes to state voting laws and procedures. Emboldened by Shelby County, states across the country unleashed a torrent of voting restrictions that have systematically disenfranchised minorities and the marginalized and made voting more difficult in general.

The Voting Rights Advancement Act would restore and modernize Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, improve and modernize the landmark legislation, and provide the federal government with other necessary tools to combat what has become a full-fledged attack on Americans’ right to vote.

In addition to Sens. Menendez and Booker, the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019 is cosponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Angus King (I-Maine), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.). 

Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives with more than 200 cosponsors.  

The legislation is also supported by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Brennan Center For Justice, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and the Human Rights Campaign.

The full text of the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019 can be found here.

An outline of the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019 can be found here.