Congressman Charles B. Rangel issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, invalidating the coverage formula of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA):
"I am disappointed that the Supreme Court decided to ignore the overwhelming evidence of historical and ongoing voter suppression against minority voters. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is one of our nation's most vital pieces of legislation, and today's ruling marks a major setback for voting rights in America.
While we have come a long way since the Civil Rights era, we cannot allow voter discrimination and suppression to persist in our country. Section 5 of the Act protects voters in districts with long histories of voter suppression by requiring federal approval for any changes to their voting laws. As recently as 2006, Congress agreed, on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis, that this protection was still needed to protect minorities at the ballot box.
It is abominable that there has been a coordinated effort by Republican state legislatures to restrict voting rights -- since 2011, more than 180 bills have been introduced in 40 states that would make it harder to vote. Participating in the democratic process should be easily accessible to every American citizen. We cannot allow a handful of divisive politicians to disenfranchise minorities for their own political gain.
I proudly marched from Selma to Montgomery with Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders to stand up for the democratic values that we hold so dear. I have seen our country make great strides forward since. To uphold the integrity of our democracy, we have a solemn obligation to protect the right of all Americans to vote."