Civil Rights Groups Unified in Call for Advancing the Voting Rights Amendment Act

Letter from The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Board of Directors to House Judiciary Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 5/14/2014, 2:07 p.m.
Today, the Board of Directors of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, comprised of 29 national organizations representing ...
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Civil Rights Leaders to Discuss Letter at Thursday Morning Press Conference

Washington, DC – Today, the Board of Directors of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, comprised of 29 national organizations representing millions of constituents across the United States, sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee stressing their unified support for advancing the bipartisan Voting Rights Amendment Act (VRAA) to address the grave threat to voting rights following the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder. The letter comes in advance of a Thursday morning press conference where diverse civil rights leaders will underscore their call for congressional action the bill.

Leaders of these prominent civil rights organizations sent the letter to Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and to the Committee’s Ranking Member, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), who is an original co-sponsor of the VRAA (HR 3899/ S 1945). House Majority and Minority Leadership were copied on the letter, which calls on the committee to hold a hearing soon on this modern, bipartisan fix to the Voting Rights Act.

The letter states: “The House Judiciary Committee cannot shrink from this historic obligation. We call on you to advance this bipartisan bill through a hearing, followed by a markup in due course. These steps will give this issue the urgent attention it deserves. Our request is simple but urgent: give this bill the benefit of a full-throated congressional debate.”

The VRAA received a bipartisan introduction in January in the House by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), Rep. Conyers and other Members who support protecting voters from discrimination. However, the House Judiciary Committee has yet to schedule a hearing or a mark-up on this important legislation.

The text of the letter and a complete list of signers is linked here and pasted below.


Letter to Goodlatte and Conyers RE: the Voting Rights Amendment Act

Advocacy Letter - 05/14/14

Source: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Recipient: Bob Goodlatte and John Conyers

View the PDF of this letter here.

The Honorable Bob Goodlatte

Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable John Conyers

Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and its undersigned board of directors, we urge you to take needed action to protect all voters by advancing the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 (VRAA) (H.R. 3899) through the congressional process. Voters everywhere are vulnerable to discrimination, and now is the time for Congress to give this issue the attention it deserves.

Right now the right to vote for all is under grave threat. Last year, the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County v. Holder struck down a key section of the Voting Rights Act that had helped states, counties, and towns to get ahead of potential discrimination. In particular, the Court struck down Section 4 of the Act, which determined which states would fall under the “preclearance” provisions. In its decision, the Court invited Congress to act, with Chief Justice Roberts writing in the majority that "Congress may draft another formula based on current conditions."