Congressional Voting Rights Caucus
The NEDC is part of the coalition, the Voting Rights Alliance, that urged Congress to form a Voting Rights Caucus and helped to promote and expand it.
The Congressional Voting Rights Caucus is committed to educating members of public on the various voter suppression tactics enacted by states since the Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act in its 2013 Shelby v. Holder decision. There is overwhelming evidence that these laws disproportionately affect low-income populations and communities of color and the need to protect traditionally disenfranchised voters is overdue.
The Caucus will work to help educate the public about their rights as voters, advance legislation that blocks current and future suppression tactics, and brainstorm creative ways to bring our election process into the 21st Century.
The Congressional Voting Rights Caucus supports the following legislation in the 114th Congress for its efforts to restore access to the ballot box, modernize voting procedures, and protect the voting rights of all Americans:
Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015
Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL)
Summary: This bill amends the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to allow a representative official of an Indian tribe, with authorization from the governing body of the tribe, to request one or more polling places to be located on tribal lands. The state or political subdivision shall provide each requested polling place at no expense to the Indian tribe if certain criteria are met.
Verifying Optimal Tools for Elections or “VOTE” Act of 2016
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA)
Summary: This bill amends the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to make improvements to voting system technology, election official training, and protecting voting system source code.
America’s Vote Act of 2015
Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA)
Summary: This bill amends the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to permit an individual required to present identification as a condition for voting in a federal election to meet the requirement by presenting the appropriate state or local election official with a sworn written statement, signed by the individual under penalty of perjury, attesting to the individual's identification and that he or she is registered to vote in the election. Allows an individual desiring to vote by mail to submit such a statement with the ballot.
Voter Access Protection Act of 2015
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)
Summary: This bill amends the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to prohibit a state or local election official from requiring an individual to: (1) present a photo identification (or a copy if voting by mail) as a condition for receiving or casting a ballot in any election for federal office, or (2) cast a provisional ballot solely on the grounds that the individual does not present a photo identification at the polling place.
Same Day Registration Act of 2015
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)
Summary: This bill amends the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require states with a voter registration requirement to make same-day voter registration available at the polling place on the date of election itself (or on the day of voting under early voting).
Universal Right to Vote by Mail Act of 2015
Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA)
Summary: This bill amends the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to prohibit a state from imposing additional conditions or requirements on the eligibility of an individual to cast a vote in federal elections by mail, except to the extent that it imposes a deadline for requesting the ballot and returning it to the appropriate state or local election official.
Streamlined and Improved Methods of Polling Locations and Early (SIMPLE) Voting Act of 2015
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN)
Summary: This bill amends the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) to require each state to allow individuals to vote in a federal election on each day during the 15-day period ending on the second day immediately preceding the election date in the same manner as voting is allowed on election day.
Voter Empowerment Act of 2015
Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)
Summary: This bill amends the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) to require each state to make available official public websites for online voter registration. Authorizes automated voter registration of certain individuals and establishes other initiatives to promote voter registration, such as same day registration and voter registration of individuals under 18 years of age.