House LGBT Equality Caucus Calls for Restoration of the Voting Rights Act

Jul 30, 2015
Press Release

1433 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515

Date: July 30, 2015         Contact:  Roddy Flynn, (202) 257-8416

House LGBT Equality Caucus Calls for Restoration of the Voting Rights Act

Washington, DC – The Co-Chairs of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus called on Congress to restore federal voter protections to the Voting Rights Act.  The Equality Caucus Co-Chairs issued the following statement:

“Two years ago, the Supreme Court invalidated critical provisions of the Voting Rights Act,” Equality Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) said.  “This decision was deeply disappointing, and a setback to the core principles of our democracy.  Although our country has made tremendous progress towards equal rights and equal opportunity for all, voting discrimination still exists.  Congress must act to ensure that every American has equal access to the ballot.”

 “The right to vote is essential to our democracy. States have taken measures over the past few years to make it harder for citizens to vote,” said Equality Caucus Co-Chair Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI).  “Members of the LGBT community are affected by discriminatory voting laws designed to disenfranchise certain voters.  Our democracy is strongest when more Americans participate in elections.  We must protect the integrity of our electoral process and reauthorize the VRA so that all Americans are guaranteed the right to vote.”

“Two years ago, the Supreme Court struck down a portion of the Voting Rights Act that provided voting protections to millions of Americans who are susceptible to disenfranchisement, including members of the LGBT community,” said Equality Caucus Co-Chair Congressman Mark Takano (D-CA).  “Making it more difficult for minorities to vote through voter ID laws, the elimination of early voting, or other means is counter to what our nation stands for and we should be doing all we can to reverse the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision.  As Congress seeks to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act, I hope that they will address the misguided ruling of the Supreme Court and effectively restore Section 4 so that all Americans, no matter their race, gender, or sexual orientation, will have the opportunity to vote.”

“The principle that every American has the right to help shape their government is the foundation of our successful experiment at democracy,” said Equality Caucus Co-Chair Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO).  “The Voting Rights Act is one of the most successful – and important – civil rights statutes in our history. We must ensure that we restore its central tenets so that no person is denied a voice at the ballot box.

“Over the past half century, the Voting Rights Act has helped guarantee millions of Americans the right to make their voices heard and participate in our democracy,” said Equality Caucus Co-Chair Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI).  “But today, these rights are under attack and the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby v. Holder, has further undermined voting rights.  State officials in various places around the country and Republicans in Washington are doing everything they can to make it more difficult to exercise the right to vote.  Republicans in Washington are also refusing to fix the Voting Rights Act and it's absolutely essential that Congress take action immediately to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act and protect the voting rights of millions of American citizens.”

“Our country was founded on principles of democratic participation, and the Voting Rights Act has functioned for years as a critical tool in ensuring that right to participation,” said Equality Caucus Co-Chair Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).  “It’s time for Congress to restore the critical protections and safeguards that have protected every American's right to vote over the last fifty years.  I am committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure no one is denied access at the voting booth.”

Please contact Roddy Flynn at 202.257.8416 (cell) or with press inquiries.

The mission of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus is to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality.  The bi-partisan LGBT Equality Caucus is strongly committed to achieving the full enjoyment of human rights for LGBT people in the U.S. and around the world. By serving as a resource for Members of Congress, their staff, and the public on LGBT issues, the Caucus works toward the extension of equal rights, the repeal of discriminatory laws, the elimination of hate-motivated violence, and the improved health and wellbeing for all regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.