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Congress must act quickly to restore the Voting Rights Act

To the Editor:

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision which eliminated key components of the landmark Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965. The decision in the case of Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder erased fundamental protections against racial discrimination in voting that have been effective for more than 40 years. Only strong action from Congress can fix the Court’s mistake.

Before the ink was even dry on the decision, several states rushed to implement discriminatory anti-voter laws, including several states where the League of Women Voters had previously succeeded in blocking voter restrictions in the courts and state legislatures. Sadly, this is only the beginning. Without a strong VRA, our ability to fight off anti-voter legislation and keep our elections free, fair and accessible is significantly weakened.

The Voting Rights Act, signed in to law by President Johnson over 48 years ago, remains an essential protection against the thinly veiled discrimination that still threatens many Americans’ right to vote. Congress needs to move swiftly to overcome this decision and restore the effectiveness of the VRA. The Shelby decision is a call to action for all who believe every eligible voter should have fair and equal access to the ballot. Now is the time to contact Congresswoman Niki Tsongas and Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey and urge them to repair the VRA before any more damage is done.

You can find elected officials’ contact information, as well as upcoming local voter registration events, on our website, www.lwvcc.org. Thank you for calling or writing your members of Congress today.

Cindy Nock & Dee Ortner,

Co-Presidents League of Women Voters of Concord-Carlisle