AJC Urges Congress to Pass Voting Rights Bill

January 17, 2014 – Washington – AJC applauds the introduction of bipartisan legislation amending the Voting Rights Act of 1965 so that it will continue to ensure fair treatment of all voters.

“Voting rights are a foundation of democracy,” said Richard Foltin, AJC Director of National and Legislative Affairs. “The Voting Rights Act remains an important bulwark against discrimination in exercising the right to vote.”

The U.S. Supreme Court last year, in Shelby County v. Holder, struck down as unconstitutional a key pre-clearance requirement of the landmark 1965 legislation that had protected against discriminatory laws and practices. Following the court decision, several jurisdictions moved to implement changes in voting practices that thwart full access to the ballot.

The Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014, introduced by Representatives James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and John Conyers (D-MI), aims to enhance voter protections in a way that is responsive to the issues raised by the high court.  A companion bill was introduced in the Senate by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

“Congressional action is imperative to guarantee that the franchise for all Americans is protected,” said Foltin. 

AJC, a longstanding champion of civil rights, supported passage of the original Voting Rights Act 49 years ago.

To spur effective advocacy on behalf of voting rights, AJC will convene a national conference next month in Washington, D.C. The conference will be held in coordination with the National Urban League, NALEO, and other civil rights organizations.