HAYES STATEMENT ON THE 8TH ANNIVERSARY OF SHELBY V. HOLDER AND FOR THE PEOPLE ACT (H.R.1)

June 25, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes released a statement on the 8th Anniversary of Shelby v. Holder in light of the For The People Act (H.R.1):

“Today marks eight years since the Supreme Court handed down Shelby v. Holder, which gutted the most crucial portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The decision has unleashed a wave of voter restriction bills aimed at suppressing the rights of our most vulnerable populations, with more than 400 bills introduced at the state level this year. While the House has responded to these actions by passing H.R. 1, the For The People Act, the Senate must do the same to restore these vital protections.” said Congresswoman Hayes.

“Americans deserve equal opportunity to choose their elected leaders. I voted to pass the For The People Act (H.R.1), to expand access to the ballot, reduce the influence of money in politics, and implement anti-corruption measures. We must protect the right to vote. It is our most fundamental right and our greatest opportunity to weigh in on all other matters,” said Congresswoman Hayes.

The Voting Rights Act (VRA) was passed to ensure that state and local governments do not pass laws or policies that deny American citizens the equal right to vote based on race. Section 5 of the VRA required jurisdictions with a history of discrimination (predominately the Jim Crow South) to submit any proposed changes to voting laws or procedures to the U.S. Department of Justice or a federal district court in DC before going into effect. Shelby County, Alabama challenged this law and won on the premise that the criteria used to determine which states had a history of discrimination—Section 4(b) of the VRA—was unconstitutional, thereby making Section 5 of the VRA inoperable. 

“This month, I cosponsored H.Res. 438 titled the "Third Reconstruction,” led by Representative Barbara Lee. This resolution favors expanding and protecting the right to vote by restoring the full power of the Voting Rights Act; making election day a national holiday; establishing a fair redistricting process that eliminates all forms of racist and political gerrymandering; increasing polling locations, implementing no-excuse mail-in voting in every State; modernizing voter registration by instituting online-same day and automatic voter registration; and ensuring the right to vote for formerly and currently incarcerated people,” said Congresswoman Hayes.

Hayes also cosponsored the H.R. 2440, the Stay in Line to Vote Act in April, introduced by Representative Susan Wild. The bill prohibits states from restricting the provision of food or drink to individuals who are at polling locations to cast their ballots in a federal election. She also cosponsored H.R. 2358, the Voter Empowerment Act of 2021, led by Representative Jim Clyburn. This bill modernizes voter registration, promotes access to voting for individuals with disabilities or previous convictions, and protects the ability of individuals to exercise the right to vote in elections for Federal office. 

Hayes has cosponsored a bill by Representative David Cicilline, the Automatic Voter Registration Act (H.R. 2301). The bill requires each state to ensure that anyone who provides identifying information to the state motor vehicle authority is automatically registered to vote in elections for federal office, unless the individual does not meet the eligibility requirements or declines to be registered to vote. 

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Congresswoman Jahana Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District. She was a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year.  

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