As Congress Blocks Restoration of Voting Rights Act, GOP-Governed States Continue to Enact Voter Suppression Laws

Posted July 1, 2015

MP3 Interview with Nick Nyhart, president and CEO of Every Voice Center (formerly Public Campaign), conducted by Scott Harris

votingrights

June 25, 2015 marked the second anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Shelby County v. Holder case that effectively dismantled the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Since then, 21 states across the nation have imposed new obstacles to voting. These include the establishment of new restrictive voter ID laws, limiting the days and hours for early voting and regulations making registering new voters more difficult. These new electoral regulations ushered in by mostly Republican governors and legislatures disproportionately erode the voting rights of African Americans, Latinos, students, senior citizens and other voters viewed as likely to cast ballots for Democratic party candidates.

Civil rights movement veteran and U.S. Rep. John Lewis is a co-sponsor of the Voting Rights Advancement Act that was introduced on June 24, legislation that seeks to restore key sections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act removed by the Supreme Court in 2013. Seventy pastors, members of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, gathered in Washington on the anniversary of the high court ruling to pressure lawmakers to support the bill that would restore the Voting Rights Act.

But U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Republican who represents part of Roanoke, Virginia and chairs the House Judiciary Committee, has blocked action on the proposed Voting Rights restoration bill. On June 25, a coalition of labor, civil rights, voting rights, environment and good government groups held a rally in Roanoke, calling on Rep. Goodlatte to allow debate on the Voting Rights Advancement Act. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Nick Nyhart, president and CEO of Every Voice Center, who participated in the Roanoke rally. Here, he assesses the current campaign to pressure Congress to restore the 1965 Voting Rights Act .

For more information about the Every Voice Center, visit everyvoice.org.

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