WASHINGTON — Leading civil rights organizations released the following joint statement urging Congress to remain focused on federal voting rights protections and the core issue of racial discrimination addressed in the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, as the Electoral Count Act is grossly insufficient:
“The right to vote is our most sacred right. We must ensure that voters can safely and freely cast their ballots. The Electoral Count Act proposal would provide important and needed protections to ensure the integrity of the presidential election of 2024, but it does not address the ongoing pernicious and pervasive racial discrimination in voting nor does it make voting more accessible.
“Bringing clarity to the certification of presidential elections is hollow, if the right to vote itself is not safeguarded. Pursuing this bill alone as a compromise on voting rights reform is offensive to voters, especially voters of color, and the generations who bled and died for the franchise since our nation’s founding. Bipartisanship for bipartisanship’s sake does nothing for a citizen whose right to vote has been compromised by partisan extremists in states. Worse, some might view this effort as a cynical attempt to fool the American people into believing meaningful action has been taken on voting rights when none has been taken. We won’t participate in that charade.
“Compromise is a worthy goal, but any compromise on voting rights must center on tearing down barriers to the ballot for Black people and other people of color, Native Americans and Alaskan Natives, people with disabilities, senior citizens, veterans, new Americans, and young people. We must move forward to protect the voice and vote of every American.
“Our democracy remains on the line.
“This year, elections for the Senate, the House, governors, school boards, secretaries of state, county commissions, district attorneys, and more will be held in states where new anti-voter laws have been enacted. Congress must include the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and key provisions of the Freedom to Vote Act in any legislation that is considered to safeguard our democracy.”
This statement was signed by the following organizations:
- National Coalition on Black Civic Participation/Black Women’s Roundtable President and CEO Melanie Campbell
- The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Interim President and CEO Wade Henderson
- Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law President and Executive Director Damon Hewitt
- NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) President and Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill
- NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson
- National Council of Negro Women Executive Director Janice L. Mathis
- National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial
- National Action Network President and Founder Reverend Al Sharpton