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Letter: Voting bill

The Leagues of Women Voters of Amherst and Northampton commend the introduction of bipartisan legislation, the Voter Registration Amendment Act, by Reps. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), John Conyers (D-MI), Bobby Scott (D-VA), John Lewis (D-GA) and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) offering common sense fixes designed to modernize the Voting Rights Act (VRA). To see the text of this bill (also called the Voter Empowerment Act) see H.R. 12 or S. 123.

This bipartisan legislation was carefully crafted to protect the rights of all voters from discrimination and to repair the damage to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 inflicted by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby v. Holder. The Sensenbrenner bill seeks to better protect all voters against discrimination at the ballot box and ensure Americans are guaranteed their right to vote. The League of Women Voters urges Congress to pass the bill swiftly.

The bipartisan introduction of common sense protections for voting rights is an important step. We need modern, common sense fixes to protect everyone’s right to vote and make sure that our elections are free, fair and accessible for every American.

Last year, the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Amendment that was essential to protecting voters in states, counties, and cities that had a history of discrimination. Since the Supreme Court’s decision, dozens of cities and towns have changed voting procedures.

The VRA has a history of bipartisan support. Passing these modern fixes to the law is not about who wins or loses elections or the political advantage of one party or another. It’s about all of us coming together to affirm that everyone should have an equal right to vote.

CYNTHIA BRUBAKER, co-president, LWV of Amherst

KATHERINE VORWERK, co-president, LWV of Amherst

MARY LOU BOULEY, treasurer, LWV of the Northampton Area

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