Yet another massive difference between Democrats and Republicans: House Democrats want to fix the Voting Rights Act, which has been fatally broken since before the 2016 election. Republicans will never let such legislation come to a vote.
House Democrats introduced legislation Thursday to restore parts of the Voting Rights Act while pledging to make the issue of voting rights a priority if the party wins in 2018.
On the eve of the four-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down key parts of the VRA, Rep. Terri Sewell, D-AL, told a crowd of voting rights advocates and supporters gathered on Capitol Hill that it is time to “restore the promise of voter equality.”
“Today, I’m introducing the Voting Rights Advancement Act because I believe that the right to vote is one of the most fundamental rights in our democracy,” Sewell said. “As state after state create new barriers to the polls, our work to prevent discrimination and protect the rights of all voters has taken on a new urgency. The time to restore the vote is now.”
The Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA) aims to modernize Section 4 of the VRA that the Supreme Court ruled in Shelby County v. Holder was outdated on June 25, 2013. Under the new act, local and state governments with a history of voter discrimination from the past 25 years would have to obtain federal approval before making changes to voting policies or procedures.
These states would include: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.
The bill has 180 Democratic co-sponsors, but has yet to garner support from across the aisle. Without it, the bill cannot forward in the Republican-controlled chamber.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, while calling on her GOP colleagues to make it a bipartisan measure, said the bill "will be introduced on the very first day" Democrats regain control of the House in 2018.
“We want people to understand they have the right to vote and their vote will be counted and counted as cast. Many people sacrificed so much for the right to vote in our country,” Pelosi said. "You have our commitment that this will become the law when we become the majority and we want it to become the law even before then."
I'm extremely glad that Democrats are focusing on this important issue, but there's no way it will ever pass as long as Republicans control the House, Senate, and/or the Oval Office. And it's going to be extremely difficult to fix Congress and the White House before we fix rampant GOP voter suppression.
We need to start now.