Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Terri Sewell issued the following statement after the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2015 was reintroduced in the House of Representatives:

“I am pleased that both Democrats and Republicans recognize the need to strengthen federal voter protections, however, I am deeply concerned that in its current form, the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2015 would not cover the State of Alabama under the bill’s new Section 5 coverage formula. 

“The new formula omits key states, like Alabama, and does not take into account consent decrees. Alabama has a storied history of voter suppression. Although progress has been made, it is largely due to the protections granted by the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. We have witnessed a steady erosion of voter protections in the wake of Shelby County v. Holder that prove federal oversight is still necessary.

“Last January, a federal judge reinstated federal oversight in the City of Evergreen, Alabama, using Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act which allows the courts to ‘bail in’ jurisdictions that have intentionally discriminated against minority voters. The City of Evergreen came under federal scrutiny for unfairly excluding African-Americans from the voting rolls, and for attempting to further dilute their voting power with a redistricting plan that would pack its majority black population into only two of five municipal districts.

“The State of Alabama has also enacted a proof-of-citizenship requirement and photo identification rules that makes it harder to vote. Imposing additional and unnecessary restrictions discourages young adults, the elderly, people of color, naturalized citizens, and low-income individuals from coming to the polls. We need to protect their voices, not silence them completely.

“The struggle to ensure that all Americans can participate equally in the political process continues.  Voting rights advocates and everyday citizens must remain vigilant and do all they can to safeguard against efforts to constrict democracy in state, local, and federal elections and beyond. Our democracy requires it.  On the 50th anniversary celebration of the Voting Rights Act, and the historic march that led to its passage, I urge my colleagues to make a commitment to work together across the aisles and restore the Voting Rights Act for all Americans.”


For more information about our releases, please contact Deshundra Jefferson (Washington, DC) at 202.225.2665 or Aneesa McMillan (Birmingham) at 205.254.1960.