The Voting Rights Act and what we can do

The Voting Rights Act and what we can do


Above is a map from of what states are affected by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which is part of what was struck down by the Supreme Court yesterday. Section 5 basically states that any of those olive green states up there must get clearance from the federal government before they change their voting practices, to ensure that those changes don’t have the purpose or effect of discriminating against a minority.

Hey, look, that’s my home state of AK up there! WHOOPS.

So now that the SCOTUS has ruled on the VRA, it goes to Congress. Congress already voted once, in 2006, to renew the VRA for another 25 years. 2006, friends — when George W Bush was in the middle of his second term. 390 members of Congress voted to renew the VRA then, with 33 voting against renewal.

Here’s where you come in. If you, like me, watched Wendy Davis’ filibuster last night and wanted to scream with the people in the gallery, this is the time to start screaming. Especially if you live in one of the affected states, contact your congresspeople. If you’re not in one of the affected states, contact your congresspeople anyway. Make it absolutely clear to Congress that this is important. Make it clear that everyone in Congress needs to pull together to keep the VRA effective.

Get up there in the gallery and start screaming your lungs out.

VoteSmart has thorough information about your elected officials, including how to contact them and their voting records. If your congressperson was in office in 2006, you can even see how they voted on the VRA renewal then by clicking on “Voting Record,” then selecting “Civil Liberties and Civil Rights” from the handy drop-down “Issues” menu.

You don’t have to call your congresspeople — write them a letter. It doesn’t have to be a long letter — just write them a letter. If you can pick up the phone, do! If you can tweet at them or Facebook them, do! Be respectful, be clear, and be LOUD.

Make some noise.

[Reposted from elsewhere.]