Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (FL-24) released the following statement today after the United States Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that,for nearly a half century,had required states and municipalities with histories of voting rights violations to get federal preclearance before changing their voting laws or procedures.
"My personal experiences in Florida in recent elections testify to a simple fact: Voter suppression remains a serious threat to civil rights in 21st Century America. Marathon voting lines for low-income and minority groups, reduced early voting hours, voter purges, and voter registration restrictions, remain endemic. While our nation has made progress since the passage of the Voting Rights Act, voter discrimination remains a reality, "said Congresswoman Wilson.
"Congress must act to preserve the provisions at the heart of the Voting Rights Act. This is not a Democratic or Republican issue; it's not a white or black issue; it's an issue that's central to safeguarding the fundamental rights of each and every American. 390 Members of the House of Representatives, 98 Senators, and President George W. Bush all acknowledged this fact in 2006 when they came together to reauthorize the law.
I will workwith my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to restore the core protections offered by the Voting Rights Act. "
While the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision upheld the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act as a whole, it will effectively end special federal oversight over areas with high incidence of voter discrimination unless Congress passes new legislation determining which jurisdictions qualify for special scrutiny.