Voting Rights Amendment Act Hearing Begins Process of Repairing Damage Done by Supreme Court

Date
Issues

Discriminatory voting changes recently implemented in two Texas communities were highlighted in a statement submitted by Campaign Legal Center Executive Director J. Gerald Hebert into the Senate Judiciary Committee record for today’s hearing on The Voting Rights Amendment Act (S.1945).  The discriminatory changes, which had previously been blocked as a result of the special provisions of the Voting Rights Act, were implemented in two Texas jurisdictions after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the preclearance coverage formula in Shelby County v. Holder.  The Court’s decision in Shelby County left communities with a history of discrimination free to implement voting change without clearing them in advance with the Department of Justice (DOJ) or the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The voting changes made in both Beaumont and Galveston County, Texas had each been previously rejected by DOJ the year before the Shelby County decision from the Supreme Court.  In 2012, DOJ had forbidden the changes in both jurisdictions after determining that the changes significantly disadvantaged minority voters.  But once the preclearance coverage formula was struck down by the Supreme Court, both the Beaumont Independent School District and Galveston County the same discriminatory voting laws previously rejected by DOJ were promptly implemented in both communities.   

“The Voting Rights Amendment Act is a critically important piece of legislation that will help to safeguard the right of every American to vote,” said Hebert.  “The Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County was woefully misguided and the discriminatory voting laws being implemented are a direct result of the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County.  The actions in Beaumont and Galveston County are just two examples of discriminatory changes being implemented in the wake of the Shelby decision, but they are indicative of actions being undertaken across the country to undermine minority voting rights. These examples are part of a wave that will only continue to swell until the Voting Rights Amendment Act is enacted to stem the tide and protect the franchise.”

The statement submitted to the Judiciary Committee expresses strong support for Congress to enact a strong Voting Rights Amendment Act. 

To read the full statement and the attachments, click here.