PRESS ADVISORY: Voting Rights Speak Out on Thursday
On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Members of Congress will hold a voting rights speak out with lawmakers and advocates to introduce the Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA), legislation which restores protections for voters in states with a recent history of discrimination. Four years after the Supreme Court’s decision to gut the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder, the VRAA addresses a wave of voter ID laws, racial gerrymandering, and other voter suppression tactics enacted at the state level.
SPEAKERS: Reps. John Lewis, Terri Sewell, Judy Chu, Michelle Lujan Grisham, James Clyburn, Joseph Crowley, Sen. Patrick Leahy, NAACP Washington Bureau Director Hilary Shelton, The Leadership Conference President Vanita Gupta, ACLU Political Director Faiz Shakir, and AAJC Director of Census and Voting Programs Terry Ao Minnis.
WHEN: Thursday, June 22, 2017 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
WHERE: The East Capitol Lawn between the U.S. Capitol and the Library of Congress, Jefferson Building
BACKGROUND: On June 25, 2013, the Supreme Court decided Shelby County v. Holder, striking down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act after nearly fifty years of successful enforcement. On the fourth anniversary of the court’s decision lawmakers and voting rights advocates are coming together for a speak out to support voting rights legislation, including the Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA).
The VRAA seeks to restore full protections to the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 and address the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder by creating a new coverage formula that applies to states with repeated voting rights violations in the last 25 years. Should this week’s legislation pass into law, 13 states nationwide would be subject to federal election oversight due to a recent history of voter discrimination.
Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) is serving her fourth term representing Alabama’s 7th Congressional district. She sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and was recently appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Sewell is a Chief Deputy Whip and serves on the prestigious Steering and Policy Committee of the Democratic Caucus. She is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and serves as Vice Chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus, and Vice Chair of Outreach for the New Democrat Coalition.