HB 1 would restore the Voting Rights Act

Bill woud put Alabama elections back under Dept. of Justice review.

     A U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2013 did away with the requirement that the U.S. Justice Department approve any election law changes in Alabama and other mostly Southern States that had a history of preventing minority voters from casting ballots.

Now the very first bill introduced in the newly Democratic majority U.S. House would restore that Voting Rights Act.

HB 1 was crafted in part by The Brennan Center for Justice. That group writes:

“Commitment to Restore the Voting Rights Act. H.R. 1 reaffirms Congress’s commitment to restore the full protections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the landmark civil rights law that was hobbled by the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County decision. Shelby County enabled states to pass a wave of restrictive voting measures and set the stage for the brazen attempts at voter suppression we saw in 2018. The bill makes clear that Congress is committed to reversing the effects of the Supreme Court’s decision.”

The “Shelby” reference in the title of the decision comes from Shelby County Alabama. The state of Alabama argued that the state had reformed enough that the restriction was no longer needed..and the U.S. Supreme Court agreed.

Republican Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill  says the bill will probably change before it comes up for a vote in the House, and will likely fail in the Republican Majority U.S. Senate.

The only Democratic  member of the Alabama U.S. House delegation, Rep. Terri Sewell, fully supports the measure:

“In Alabama’s 7th District, our families marched, bled, and died for their right to have a fair voice in our democracy, but today new strategies for disenfranchisement are keeping eligible voters from engaging in our elections. The For the People Act fights back with reforms to stop gerrymandering, strengthen campaign finance laws, and close ethics loopholes. As we begin work in the House to investigate voter discrimination and the state of voter protections in our elections, I am proud to see a commitment in the For the People Act to restoring the vote. There is much work left to do, but today’s introduction takes a big step towards building a government of, by, and for the people.”

 

 

Categories: News, Statewide