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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Terri Sewell (AL-07)

Washington, D.C. — In advance of Juneteenth, U.S. Reps. Terri Sewell (AL-07), Marc Veasey (TX-33) and Bobby Scott (VA-03), co-chairs of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus, introduced a resolution calling for the implementation of safeguards to protect the integrity of elections and end voter suppression—crucial protections that would prevent widespread voting system malfunctions and voter discrimination in advance of the upcoming July 14 Alabama primary and November general election.

“Black Americans have faced obstacle after obstacle to exercise their right to vote for the more than 100 years since being considered full citizens under the Constitution,” Sewell said. “If our nation is ever to live up to its promise of liberty and justice for all, we must redouble our efforts to restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to its full strength, enact H.R. 4 into law and actively work to end every modern-day barrier to the ballot box.”

“Over the past few months, we have seen widespread and unacceptable flaws in our electoral system that have shamelessly denied minorities the opportunity to be heard and participate in elections across the nation,” Veasey said. “On the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, we praise the progress we have made, but acknowledge there is still much more to be done in the fight to ensure African Americans have the same constitutional rights and liberties that everyone deserves. Now more than ever, we must continue our fight to end oppressive voting laws and increase access to the polls to ensure that all Americans have the right to make their voices heard at the ballot box in the upcoming primaries and the general election this November.”

“I am proud to join my co-chairs of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus introducing a resolution commemorating Juneteenth and demanding fair elections. We must condemn and prevent discriminatory practices that discourage voter turnout in elections such as the closure of polling places, arbitrary voter ID laws, and purging voter rolls of eligible voters,” Scott said. “In the midst of this dangerous pandemic, Congress must work together to ensure access to the ballot box for all Americans by supporting vote by mail initiatives that make it easier to vote, not those designed to suppress the vote.  Together, we must protect the cornerstone of our democracy – the sacred right to vote.”

The resolution commemorates the day that news of the abolition of slavery reached slaves in Galveston, Texas 155 years ago on June 19, by reaffirming Congress’ commitment to protect the fundamental right of Black Americans and other minorities to vote.

Specifically, the resolution aims to help minorities by including provisions that will support the implementation of transparent and inclusive election policies, the expansion of vote-by-mail and postage-paid absentee ballot options, the prioritization of disbursing election assistance funding to states that are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and the creation of a national task force through the Election Assistance Commission that would prioritize promoting safe voting practices during this pandemic.

The resolution is particularly relevant in light of the Alabama Attorney General’s decision yesterday to appeal a federal court ruling that would make it easier for some Alabamians to vote in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Congressional Voting Rights Caucus was founded in 2016 with the mission to educate the public on the current voter suppression tactics in place in their home states, districts and counties, inform constituencies on their rights as voters, and to create and advance legislation that blocks current and future suppressive and discriminatory tactics that deny Americans their sacred right to vote. The CVRC has over 70 members, and is co-chaired by Reps. Veasey, Sewell and Scott.

The resolution is available here.