December 2019 Action You Can Take
As a League member, please email Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester to thank her for co-sponsoring and working toward approval of H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, by the House on December 7, 2019. This bill will modernize and repair the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) after the Supreme Court gutted sections of the law in 2013. Email Congresswoman.BluntRochester@mail.house.gov.
This bill establishes new criteria for determining which states and political subdivisions must obtain preclearance before changes to voting practices in these areas may take effect. (Preclearance requires receiving preapproval from the Department of Justice or the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before making legal changes that would affect voting rights.)
A state and all of its political subdivisions would be subject to preclearance of voting practice changes for a 10-year period if (1) 15 or more voting rights violations occurred in the state during the previous 25 years; or (2) 10 or more violations occurred during the previous 25 years, at least one of which was committed by the state itself. A political subdivision as a separate unit shall also be subject to preclearance for a 10-year period if three or more voting rights violations occurred there during the previous 25 years.
A state or political subdivision that obtains a declaratory judgment that it has not used a voting practice to deny or abridge the right to vote would be exempt from preclearance.
The bill specifies practices that all jurisdictions must preclear before implementing and expands the circumstances under which (1) a court may retain the authority to preclear voting changes made by a state or political subdivision, or (2) the Department of Justice may assign election observers and revises the circumstances under which a court must grant preliminary injunctive relief in a challenge to voting practices.
States and political subdivisions must notify the public of changes to voting practices