Norma Torres

12/06/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/06/2019 17:01

Rep. Torres on VRA Vote: Good, but Not Good Enough

WASHINGTON, DC - Congresswoman Norma J. Torres (CA-35) released the following statement today as the U.S. House of Representatives passed The Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019 (H.R. 4) by a party-line vote of 228 to 187.

Originally passed in 1965, and overwhelmingly reauthorized by bipartisan votes four times (most recently in 2006), the Voting Rights Act sought to end racial discrimination at the ballot box and ensure that every American could participate in our democracy.

'The health of American democracy depends on our right to vote,' Rep. Torres said. 'In recent years, we've seen voter suppression tactics spring up where the Voting Rights Act once ensured they couldn't. Today's vote was about righting the wrong that Shelby v. Holder committed when it undermined the VRA.'

In 2013, the Shelby v. Holder Supreme Court Case invalidated a key component of the law, asserting the Voting Rights Act had achieved its ends, and that its continuation was punishing states for past mistakes. However, new voting restrictions were enacted in North Carolina, Texas, and other states that had previously been forbidden by the Voting Rights Act.

While the Voting Rights Advancement Act passed today, it now goes to the U.S. Senate, where the Republican majority will almost certainly kill it.

'The right to vote should not be a partisan issue, and the fact that it is speaks volumes about the political party that wants to restrict access,' Rep. Torres continued. 'The Voting Rights Advancement Act is likely to stop cold in the Republican-led Senate. The American people are right to be wary of any politician claiming to serve the public good by snuffing out the will of the people.'