Rep. Sewell Statement on 53rd Anniversary of Voting Rights Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Monday, August 6, marks the 53rd anniversary of the enactment of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). The VRA, which passed after the Selma to Montgomery marches exposed the brutality of voter suppression in the South, abolished discriminatory voting practices and required federal oversight of election changes in areas with a history of voter discrimination. In 2013, key components of the law were gutted by the Supreme Court in its Shelby County v. Holder decision.
“Today’s anniversary is a reminder that foot soldiers in Alabama and across the country fought, bled, and died for our right to vote,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “Right now, their work is under attack as states nationwide pass strict voter ID laws, gerrymander electoral districts, and purge voters from their voter rolls. As we recognize the impact that Shelby County v. Holder has had on our democracy and its damaging effect on voter access, let us recommit to action in the face of voter suppression. We must restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act to keep our elections free and fair.”
Rep. Sewell is the sponsor of the Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA), which seeks to restore full protections to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 following Shelby County v. Holder. To address the Supreme Court’s concerns with the VRA, the VRAA would create a new coverage formula which requires federal oversight of states with repeated voting rights violations in the last 25 years. Should this legislation pass into law, 13 states including Alabama 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.