Tallahassee, FL — On the 48th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) being signed into law, the League of Women Voters of Florida on Tuesday urged its members to lobby Congress to restore a key section of the legislation, which was recently overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. Despite the VRA being widely recognized as one of the nation’s most effective civil rights statutes, the Court overturned Section 4, which had been used by the U.S. Department of Justice block over 700 racially discriminatory voting measures between 1982 and 2006.
“The Court’s ruling in Shelby v. Holder is already resonating with Florida voters as we learn about a renewed effort by the Secretary of State to purge voters from the rolls,” said LWVF President Deirdre Macnab. “Given Florida’s history of purging eligible voters — some of whom are decorated veterans — the League plans to be vigilant in ensuring that the process used is fair and transparent.”
Although the state of Florida has come a long way since passing a harsh anti-voter law in 2011, without a strong VRA, the ability of groups like the League to protect our democratic process is significantly weakened.
As an indication of the VRA’s importance, Congress, upon its last reauthorization in 2006, declared that without the VRA’s protections, “racial and language minority citizens will be deprived of the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.”
“Florida’s unfortunate elections history, as well as its current actions, speak to the need for Congress to act now and restore the VRA to its full strength immediately,” said Macnab. “Today’s anniversary is a call to ensure our elections process is open, fair and accessible to as many eligible voters as possible”.
The League of Women Voters of Florida, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. For more information, please visit the League’s website at: www.TheFloridaVoter.org.