In December the U.S House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, by a bipartisan vote. The VRAA restores protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that were stripped by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013, making it easier for states and localities to practice discriminatory actions that restrict the voting rights of millions of minorities across the country.
For over 50 years, protecting voters from discrimination at the ballot box has been a bipartisan activity. Passage of the original VRA (and subsequent reauthorizations in 1970, 1975, 1982, 1992, and 2006) was not only accomplished with bipartisan support in Congress but was led by stalwart members of the Republican caucus who were committed to doing right by voters. In fact, every reauthorization of the legislation was signed into law by a Republican President, who refused the notion that voting is a partisan issue.
The VRAA is needed to ensure that preclearance can go back into effect so that all eligible Americans are able to vote on Election Day. It is an unfortunate fact that discrimination in voting against racial, ethnic, and language minorities continues in America. This should be unacceptable in the greatest democracy in the world.
As the VRAA advances to the Senate, we look forward to working with Senators on both sides of the aisle to ensure full passage of this vital legislation.
Wisconsin won't stand for a voter purge
The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and two registered Wisconsin voters filed a federal lawsuit in December to challenge a planned voter roll purge that was based on unreliable data. Hundreds of thousands of voters were given 30 days to respond to a letter informing them of their purge status.
The lawsuit alleges the purge would violate the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment because the letters sent by the Wisconsin Elections Commission did not provide adequate notice of what voters needed to do to remain on the rolls. A state court judge ruled that state law requires the immediate removal of voters who were sent letters but had not responded.
In 2018, thousands of voters were mailed purge notices in error based on the same unreliable data, and it’s unacceptable that the Wisconsin Elections Commission is repeating the same mistakes. Now is not the time to confuse the process for voters before the 2020 election cycle.
We believe in the power of women
You've met six of our amazing League members and heard their powerful stories of activism with the League through the She Is Me campaign. Now, we're excited to begin introducing you to even more members, starting with Brendan.
Brendan is a young League member whose passion for civic engagement was reinvigorated through the mentorship he found in the League. Finding himself burnt out on national politics, Brendan credits the relationships and training he found in the League with turning his cynicism into action.
The League of Women Voters includes members of all genders, who are all united by the work of empowering voters and defending democracy. As an organization founded by the first women voters in America, the League is defined by a central value: We believe in the power of women to create a more perfect democracy.
As we look forward to celebrating our 100-year milestone in February, we celebrate the power of all our activists who look to our founders, our leaders, and each other, and say "She is me." Read Brendan's story and others at lwv.org/sheisme.