The following is a statement from ACLU of Illinois Executive Director Colleen K. Connell:
Today’s decision by the Supreme Court of the United States significantly weakens the Voting Rights Act – the most successful piece of American civil rights legislation. In 2006, by an overwhelming, bipartisan majority, Congress re-authorized the formula for deciding which states were covered by the VRA’s “pre-clearance” requirement – the provision that requires areas with a proven history of discriminating against minority voters had to submit proposed changes in voting laws or redistricting laws to the U.S. Department of Justice (or a three judge court) for review before implementation. Today, a slim majority of the Supreme Court found that formula to be inadequate. The pre-clearance provision of the VRA has critical in recent years to blocking changes to voting procedures that would have a dilatory impact on voters of color. The very success of pre-clearance in protecting the franchise underscores the continued need for the process to operate without interruption.
We are pleased to see that some members of Congress are calling for quick action to re-enact a formula before we see discrimination at the ballot box become pervasive anew. Washington must not permit its ever-present gridlock to stand in the way of fairness and equality in access to the franchise.