Six years after the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, House Democrats and voting rights leaders are trying to restore it in hopes of ending voter suppression.
“The reality is that voter suppression is adapting to the changing demographics of our country,” said Stacey Abrams, a former Democratic gubernatorial candidate of Georgia.
In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out key provisions of the Voting Rights Act.
On Tuesday, Abrams testified before a House committee about how the ruling impacted her race.
“The challenge is that in Georgia we face not only malfeasance but incompetence. There are people being removed from the rolls who should not be removed. There is no condition for their removal,” Abrams said.
The law required 15 states, including Georgia, to get permission from the federal government before changing voting laws to make sure they would not negatively impact the minority vote.
Six years ago, the Supreme Court ended the federal oversight, saying the formula for determining which states fell under the requirement was outdated and unfairly singled out a group of mostly southern states.
“They said that voter suppression is not a problem anymore. It’s a problem of the past,” U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Alabama) said.
The congresswoman and her Democrat colleagues disagree.
They have developed legislation with a new formula that only targets states with a recent history of voting rights violations.
“What do we want?” Rep. Sewell asked.
“The vote!” the crowd said in return.
“When do we want it?” Sewell asked.
“Now!” the crowd replied.
While some groups, like the conservative Heritage Foundation, have said federal control is an unnecessary infringement of states’ rights to regulate elections.
House Democrats commit to restoring the Voting Rights Act by the end of the year.