Issue Position: Voting Rights / Election Reform
The right to vote - and to have that vote counted - is one of the most fundamental and cherished rights afforded to citizens. Since its enactment in 1965, the Voting Rights Act has propelled substantial increases in minority participation and representation in the United States. While the act's effectiveness has validated it as one of the most important civil rights laws in history, racial discrimination at the voting booth continues to stifle the promise of full political participation. With important sections of the Voting Rights Act set to expire in 2007, it is essential for Congress to strengthen and reauthorize these provisions. Reauthorization is especially important in light of reports that the Justice Department has begun to ban career staff attorneys from weighing in on major Voting Rights Act cases, allowing political appointees to override any prior decisions.
Recent elections have highlighted the need for measures to increase access to the political process and improve the overall integrity of the electoral system. To ensure every vote is accurately verified and counted, the election system requires reforms to create national standards for elections, including modernized equipment and greater access to polling stations.