Condos urges Congress to advance voting rights

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Condos urges Congress to advance voting rights

Mon, 11/25/2019 - 3:03pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Today Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos called upon members of Congress to pass comprehensive voting rights legislation. The U.S. House of Representatives may vote soon on the Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore the 1965 Voting Rights Act protections that were stripped from law by the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder. Senator Patrick Leahy authored and led 46 senators in introducing the Senate version of the Voting Rights Advancement Act earlier this year.

“The right to vote is a sacred right enshrined in our Constitution,” said Condos. “In the last decade we have seen a renewed assault on voting rights in states across the country. It’s time for Congress to step up and ensure that every eligible American can access their right to register and vote.”

Condos is a long-time champion for voter rights and access, and Vermont is seen as a national leader. Voter access reforms enacted in Vermont include automatic voter registration, same day voter registration, online voter registration and polling place look-up, deliberative voter checklist maintenance practices, and a no-excuse 45 day early voting period.

“The erosion of civil rights, like the right to vote, is a threat to our very democracy,” said Condos. “The Shelby County decision opened the doors for discriminatory voter suppression laws in states around the country, allowing opponents of voting rights to use strict voter ID laws, aggressive voter registration checklist purging, and gerrymandering to strengthen their political power by suppressing the voting rights of minority communities.”

In the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision, considered by voting rights advocates to be a damaging blow to democracy, the Court said that Congress needed to build a record of discriminatory activity. Following field hearings around the country by House Administration, the Voting Rights Advancement Act was introduced in February of 2019.

The Voting Rights Advancement Act was introduced by lead sponsor Senator Patrick Leahy, and was co-sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders. Representative Peter Welch is a co-sponsor of HR 4, the companion House bill.

“Congress has the ability, and responsibility, to ensure that the rights of all American voters are upheld,” said Condos. “Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders, and Representative Welch have represented Vermont well as outspoken advocates for voting rights. I hope their colleagues will join with the Vermont delegation, and civil rights leaders from across the country, in this important voting rights advancement. In the spirit of those who have fought so hard throughout our country’s history to advance voting rights, it’s time to move forward, not backwards.”

Secretary Condos, and legislative leaders in Vermont, have resisted the voting rights roll-backs seen in other states, which are often justified by baseless fearmongering and unsupported claims of widespread voter-fraud. As a result, Vermont has high registration rates and no problems with voter fraud.

“Election integrity does not have to come at the expense of lawful voter access to the ballot box,” said Condos.

Source: Montpelier, VT – Vermont Secretary of State 11.25.2019