Common Cause Urges Action This Year To Strengthen Voting Rights

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Americans shouldn’t have to wait for the election of a new President to get strong federal and state action to protect and strengthen voting rights, Common Cause said recently.

“It’s encouraging to see voting rights and voter participation emerging as issues early in the race for the White House,” said Common Cause President Miles Rapoport. “But Congress should be working now, as many of our state legislatures already are working, to make it easier for Americans to register to vote and to cast their ballots.

Rapoport praised proposals for expanded early voting, online registration and improved election administration outlined this week by candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton. “These ideas ought to be a starting point for bipartisan action to ensure that every qualified American has the right to vote, is able to cast his or her ballot easily and can be confident that the ballot will be counted as cast,” he said. A bipartisan commission created by President Obama after the 2012 election already has put forth a series of comprehensive, common-sense steps to shorten voting lines and increase efficiency.

“This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. This month marks two years since the Supreme Court gutted key provisions of that law in Shelby County v. Holder. And yet Congress has done nothing to restore the act; the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee refuses even to convene a hearing,” Rapoport said.

“There is no reason – none at all – why this should be a partisan issue,” he added. “The original Voting Rights Act and the revisions that have been adopted over the years all enjoyed bipartisan support. Those laws have made it possible for millions of Americans who once were shut out of our democracy to become full partners in the American experiment.”

Editor’s Note: Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization “dedicated to restoring the core values of American democracy, reinventing an open, honest, and accountable government that works for the public interest, and empowering ordinary people to make their voices heard.”

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