Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) released the following statement regarding today’s Supreme Court 5-4 decision in Shelby County v. Holder striking down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, and, in turn, essentially undoing the protections of Section 5.
“I’m deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision today,” Esty said. “The constitutional right of voters to determine our government and set the course for our future is the very cornerstone of our American democracy. Today’s decision is a tremendous step backwards in our nation’s continuing effort to protect the ability of American citizens to exercise that right. We should be removing burdens that limit and impede voting rights, not eliminating critical enforcement mechanisms for existing protections.
“In recent elections, even as we’ve seen historic voter turnout, we’ve also seen restrictions and practices that seek to limit voter participation in some states – showing that the safeguards of the Voting Rights Act are still very much necessary and relevant. Where the Court today has failed to protect the rights of all voters, Congress has a responsibility to act. I will continue to fight for legislation that ensures every eligible American has the ability to exercise his or her constitutional right to vote without discrimination and without undue burdens.”
Esty is also an original co-sponsor of the Voter Empowerment Act, a comprehensive voting rights bill that would increase the accessibility, integrity, and accountability of elections for American citizens.