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Urge Congress to Restore Voting Rights


On June 25, 2013, the Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County v. Holder  invalidated parts of the Voting Rights Act. In the aftermath of the Court’s misguided decision, many states have tested the extent to which they can legally limit citizens’ access to the ballot box, by introducing--and in many cases passing restrictive voting laws. 

Urge your Members of Congress to support the Voting Rights Advancement Act (S. 1659 / H.R. 2867), which would help restore protections against these restrictive voting laws.


Background on restrictive voting rights laws

On June 25, 2013, the Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County v. Holder  invalidated parts of the Voting Rights Act. The Court struck down Section 4(b), which contained a formula requiring certain areas with a history of disenfranchisement problems to seek pre-clearance from the Department of Justice when making changes to election procedures. In the aftermath of the Court’s misguided decision, many states previously covered by the invalidated “preclearance” formula have tested the extent to which they can legally limit citizens’ access to the ballot box, by introducing, and in some cases passing, restrictive voting laws. These laws often have discriminatory effects on racial minorities, the poor, the elderly, and students. 

Jewish Values & Voting Rights

Jewish tradition teaches us that the selection of leaders is not a privilege but a collective responsibility. Rabbi Yitzchak taught that “a ruler is not to be appointed unless the community is first consulted” (Babylonian Talmud, B’rachot 55a). In keeping with the insight of this teaching, it is the duty of all who cherish democracy to ensure that all eligible citizens are afforded the opportunity to vote and have their votes counted. The Reform Jewish Movement, long believing that the right to vote is fundamental to American democracy, strongly supports legislation that protects the rights of all citizens to exercise the right to vote.

More on the Voting Rights Advancement Act

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Representative Terri Sewell (D-AL) introduced the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015. The bill would improve the voting process in the United States by modernizing the preclearance formula to cover states with a pattern of discrimination that puts voters at risk; protecting voters from the types of voting changes most likely to discriminate against people of color and language minorities; and requiring that jurisdictions make voting changes public and transparent, among other provisions.

More information on voting rights
You can email your Members of Congress through our form above, or you can call the Capital Switchboard at 202.224.3121202.224.3121 and ask to speak directly with their offices. 

For more information on this issue, visit the RACBlog or contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Adam Waters.