U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01) released the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a key section of the Voting Rights Act, which protects minority voters from racial discrimination at the polls, is unconstitutional:
"This is a disturbing decision and a blow to equality in America," said Hanabusa. "In striking down a critical component of the Voting Rights Act, the Supreme Court has endangered one of the most critical of citizens' rights: the power to choose the people who represent them in government. For decades, the law has protected the right to vote for millions of minority voters across the country, ensuring that all Americans have the opportunity to be heard and make a difference. Since being signed by President Lyndon Johnson, the Voting Rights Act has received bipartisan support by Congress, and was recently extended in 2006. Now that Congress is tasked with developing a new formula on the eve of an election year, I will do all that I can to protect this fundamental right and ensure that voting opportunities are expanded and not suppressed."
The 5-4 decision, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, strikes down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act which requires certain states and counties that have a history of voting discrimination to get federal permission before changing their voting procedures. The decision leaves it up to Congress to update the formula used to determine which states should be required to get permission to change voting rules, and redraw a new coverage map.