WASHINGTON—Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Justice’s announcement that it will significantly reduce the number of election monitors deployed to safeguard the November General Election due to the Supreme Court’s Shelby County decision in 2013 to gut a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act:
“Election monitors play a critical role in protecting voting rights, especially for voters of color and others who have historically been vulnerable to rampant voting discrimination. Many states have implemented new, more restrictive voting laws in the aftermath of the Shelby decision. Already this year, from Arizona to New York, we’ve seen voting discrimination deprive citizens of the right to vote in the presidential primaries.
This news creates an open invitation for more voting discrimination and voter suppression to go unchecked in the November election, particularly in those states and local jurisdictions with a history of voting discrimination that, before the Shelby County decision, would have federal election monitors there to document discriminatory voting behavior.
This again demonstrates the urgent need for Congress to act to restore the Voting Rights Act. Unless Congress acts when it returns from a nearly two month summer recess, voters in 2016 will face the first presidential election in 50 years without the protections of the VRA to combat racial discrimination in voting.”