The historic achievement of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in 1965 made it possible for millions of Americans to vote for the first time, disabling a variety of discriminatory laws. Unfortunately, in Shelby County v. Holder (2013), the Supreme Court overturned a single section of the VRA. The absence of this section reduced federal oversight, allowing 846 jurisdictions to change their state voting laws and close or move local polling places in a discriminatory way. Poll closures make it challenging for low-income voters to cast their ballots.
We first need to amend the Voting Rights Act Section 4(b) to require states to receive permission from the Department of Justice before changing certain voting laws, and then I would direct the Department of Justice to bring suits against restrictive laws.
Problems to be Solved
- checkState governments are purposefully closing polling stations to suppress votes.
- checkThe federal government has lapsed in its oversight to protect voting rights.
- We all know about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s marches in Washington D.C. and Selma, Alabama during the civil rights movement, and we all learn about the suffragettes and the 19th Amendment in school. Yet, today in the 21st century, voter access remains a challenge in our democracy. Because, while all Americans have the right to vote, the reality is that many are consistently prevented from doing so. This must change.
- checkEnsure every voter has to a polling station close to their home or work
- checkRestore federal oversight of elections in states that historically discriminated against and suppress voters
As President I will...
- Work with Congress to amend the Voting Rights Act to require states to receive permission from the Department of Justice before changing certain voting laws or polling locations.