Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez joined their caucus and the chamber’s two independent members to expand the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
A provision meant to create federal oversight of states with a history of voter suppression were deemed unconstitutional in 2013 because the formula the measure used was based on decades-old data.
“The right to vote is sacrosanct in any effective democracy and must be fully protected. Free and fair elections are essential to having a government that is truly representative of and accountable to its people,” Menendez said. “Efforts to roll back and undermine the Voting Rights Act have inevitably led to voter discrimination and disenfranchisement, especially among minorities and vulnerable populations. Congress must act to strengthen these protections and eliminate obstacles to voting.”
It’s unlikely that Senate Republicans will join Democrats in pushing the measure, as they have typically opposed such measures in the past.
Since the measure struck down from the 1965 act largely affected red states, they’re even less likely to rally behind it.
“The right to vote is the right from which all others flow. It must be defended. We cannot go back to a time when millions of people — most of them people of color and low-income individuals — were silenced and disenfranchised through voter intimidation,” Booker said. “Our bill ensures that this fundamental right will be protected for future generations to come.”