Eight years after Supreme Court decision, more than 40 states considering proposals to restrict voting rights, disenfranchise Black communities
Black Voters Matter’s Freedom Ride for Voting Rights to stop in Washington to raise awareness around voter suppression, support D.C. statehood, build Black voting power
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, June 25, Black Voters Matter (BVM), will hold a press conference and vigil on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court with national partners as part of its Freedom Ride for Voting Rights tour to acknowledge the eight-year anniversary of the Shelby County v. Holder decision. The ruling, which gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965, has resulted in rampant voter suppression, particularly in Black communities which are disproportionately impacted by voter suppression tactics.
“Eight years ago, the Shelby v. Holder decision ushered in a new era of Jim Crow as states rushed to exploit the ruling and attack Black voting rights,” said Cliff Albright and LaTosha Brown, co-founders of Black Voters Matter. “And with dozens of statehouses considering even more restrictions on ballot access and given this week’s recent block by Republicans of the For the People Act in Congress, our communities continue to feel the impact of the Shelby decision today. We launched the Freedom Ride for Voting Rights to educate Black voters about the dangerous policies threatening their voting rights and to empower Black communities to build the political future they wish to see. While the Shelby decision put a chokehold on Black voting power, the fight for progress on voting rights continues and we remain fearless and steadfast in our mission to achieve free and fair access to the ballot box once and for all. It’s long overdue.”
WHO: Subject to Change
- Cliff Albright, co-founder and executive director, Black Voters Matter
- Barbara Arnwine, president and founder, Transformative Justice Coalition
- LaTosha Brown, co-founder, Black Voters Matter
- Damon Hewitt, executive director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law
- Marcia Johnston Blanco, co-director of Voting Rights Project, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights
- Wade Henderson, president, The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights
- The objective of the presser and vigil is to acknowledge the long lasting impact the Shelby County vs Holder decision has had on voting rights in America and the plan of action for addressing the continuing assault of voter suppression brought in its aftermath.
- Friday, June 25 at 7 PM ET outside the U.S. Supreme Court (1 First St NE WDC)
- To RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2013, the Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder invalidated a major section of the Voting Rights Act, stripping the federal government of its authority to block discriminatory election-related rule changes. As a result, states almost immediately began implementing measures to roll back voting rights protections. By 2016, three years after the decision, more than 800 polling places had closed nationwide. By 2018, more than 1,000 polling places had closed with the majority of the closures affecting predominantly Black communities. A 2018 report from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights found that at least 23 states had passed discriminatory voting laws since the Shelby decision.
Now, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, more than 40 state legislatures are considering bills to restrict voting rights. These bills, which include proposals to limit access to early and absentee voting, institute voter identification requirements, and remove ballot drop boxes, would disproportionately impact Black voters who have long been disenfranchised by aggressive voting restrictions.
BVM has led direct actions and corporate accountability campaigns to block state-level voter suppression bills and has advocated for federal legislation like H.R. 1 and H.R. 4 to protect voting rights, particularly in Black communities. Last week, BVM kicked off its Freedom Ride for Voting Rights, a national education and outreach campaign to increase support for voting rights legislation, advocate for D.C. statehood, and build Black voting power, in Jackson, Mississippi. The Freedom Ride, which continues in the tradition of the original Freedom Rides that began 60 years ago and will wrap up on Sat, June 26 with a stop in D.C. on the National Mall. More information about the Freedom Ride is available here, and live video footage from each of the stops can be found on Black Voters Matter’s Youtube channel.