U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Alabama, says she is still committed to passage of the Voting Rights Advancement Act on the 7th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder U.S. Supreme Court decision.
“Seven years ago, the Supreme Court struck a blow to the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and opened the floodgates for state legislatures across the country to pass restrictive voting measures,” Sewell said. “Since 2013, we have seen the results of Shelby: more than 1,600 polling locations closed, millions purged from voter rolls and democracy denied for far too many Americans.”
“The stark reality is that restrictive voting laws put in place by state legislatures across the country since the Shelby v. Holder decision demonstrate what we knew to be true before 1965: Americans need strong federal protections to ensure our nation lives up to the ideals upon which it was founded,” Sewell said. “From strict photo voter ID laws, to voter roll purges, and polling place closures in predominantly Black counties, since the Shelby decision Alabama has implemented a host of laws and policies that make it more difficult for Alabamians to vote.”
“This past December, the House passed H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act – a bill that I was proud to champion – to put the teeth back into the Voting Rights Act and guarantee fair voting practices for all Americans, regardless of race,” Sewell said. “Today, that bill is languishing in the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to even call it up for a vote. Democracy has never been free – it has been bought and paid for by those who marched, bled and died for the right to cast their free and fair ballot. The Senate must pass H.R. 4 to honor that legacy and ensure our democracy is truly reflective of the American people.”
Shelby vs. Holder was a landmark Supreme Court case that struck down the preclearance section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Shelby County and the City of Calera successfully argued that the 47-year-old language in the act requiring that southern states receive preclearance from the Justice Department before making redistricting decisions was outdated, unfair and unconstitutional. Eric Holder was the attorney general at the time who opposed Shelby County and defended the civil rights controversial legislation.
Sewell represents Alabama’s 7th Congressional District.