CAP: Supreme Court Ruling Undermines Voting Rights Act

U.S. Supreme Court again made it more difficult for Americans to defend their right to vote
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Photo: National Urban League

Washington, D.C. — Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court again made it more difficult for Americans to defend their right to vote, upholding two restrictive Arizona voting laws that make it harder for Black, Hispanic, Native American, and disabled voters to cast ballots.

In response, Danielle Root, director of voting rights and access to justice on the Democracy and Government Reform team at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

The Supreme Court has once again issued a ruling that severely undermines the Voting Rights Act (VRA), making it even easier for conservatives to disenfranchise racial minorities and disabled people through restrictive and discriminatory voting laws. By weakening Section 2 of the VRA, the court has erected new, unacceptable roadblocks that will make it harder for Americans to protect their fundamental right to vote. The VRA was passed to block the very type of voting measures involved in this case—laws that disproportionately disadvantage Arizona’s Black, Hispanic, Native American, and disabled voters.

Today, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority solidified its legacy as being on the side of voter suppressors rather than American voters. As aptly stated by Justice Elena Kagan in her dissent, “What is tragic here is that the Court has (yet again) rewritten—in order to weaken—a statute that stands as a monument to America’s greatness, and protects against its basest impulses.”

Voters who accidentally show up at the wrong precinct and cast provisional ballots should not be punished or have their right to vote taken away. And ballot collection is a long-standing practice in many states that makes voting easier for those who can’t get to the polls and helps increase voter turnout.

Since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder, states across the country have enacted measures designed to make it tougher for people of color and disabled people to vote—and easier for far-right politicians to win office. The new ruling prioritizes partisan interests instead of equal access to the ballot box. This rigging of our voting system, a system further eroded by today’s decision, is incompatible with a democracy. It’s time for Congress to step up and pass robust federal legislation to protect our fundamental right to vote.

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