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Al Franken Calls on Congress to Strengthen the Voting Rights Act

al-frankenSen. Al Franken (D-MN) called the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to strike down part of the Voting Rights Act a significant setback to ending voter discrimination and called on Congress to update the Voting Rights Act.

“The Voting Rights Act is a bipartisan law that has allowed our nation to make great progress toward ending voter discrimination; however, as the evidence shows, the problem of voting discrimination still persists,” said Sen. Franken. “The Supreme Court’s decision in the Shelby County case is a significant setback, and I am deeply disappointed that part of this critical law has been struck down.

“I think Justice Ginsburg got it right when she wrote that Congress reauthorized the Voting Rights Act both to continue the gains we’ve made as a country, but also to prevent backsliding. Congress should respond to the Court’s opinion by updating the Voting Rights Act, and I hope that the Justice Department will use its remaining legal authority to enforce it. That statute is an important and effective tool, and we shouldn’t abandon it.”

Senator Franken is correct. Not only have things not gotten better, but in the last several elections, voting rights took a huge concerted hit from the Right, from unnecessary voter ID laws to eliminating same-day voter registration.

Voting is a fundamental right. The Republican Party should be branded as the party that shredded the right to vote for purely political reasons, because they can’t win elections fair and square. Not only did they create long lines and change voting laws in order to prohibit students and minorities from voting, but they have also managed to find a way to nullify your vote (see Michigan).

Congress should update the VRA, but of course…. we don’t have a real Congress anymore. We have a Senate barely clinging to functionality with Republicans abusing the filibuster rules and a House so dysfunctional as to be a national joke. If the bill doesn’t take rights away from targeted “others”, the House won’t even vote on it let alone pass it.

The only way to make them do it is to brand the GOP as the party of vote theft that stands for limiting the voting rights of certain Americans for cynical, political purposes.

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