Price introduces Voting Rights Act of Virginia to ensure all Virginians can cast their votes

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The Voting Rights Act of Virginia, introduced by Del. Cia Price, D-95th District, is a modernized update to the federal Voting Rights Act enacted in 1965, aimed at expanding and protecting the right to vote for all Virginians.

“Our democracy is strongest when everyone is able to participate. I’m sponsoring the Voting Rights Act of Virginia so that everyone, especially those who historically have been targeted, can cast their vote quickly, easily, and safely,” said Price, the vice chair of the House Privileges and Elections Committee.  “Since the founding of our country, voters who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color have been disenfranchised and faced extreme barriers to accessing the ballot box based on bigotry and fear. Even recent events have shown that that hatred is still threatening our democracy.

“We need the Voting Rights Act of Virginia to ensure that voter suppression, intimidation, and discrimination are truly a part of the past and not our future in the Commonwealth,” Price said.

Details

The Voting Rights Act of Virginia:

  • Requires that changes to local voting laws and regulations be advertised in advance for public comment and evaluated for their impact on Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities.
  • Expands requirements for localities to provide voting materials in languages other than English.
  • Ensures fair representation in local government.
  • Strengthens protections against voter threats and intimidation to ensure every voter can make their voice heard safely.

Background

Voters across the Commonwealth shared stories about their experiences at the polls and the challenges and obstacles they have faced in casting their ballots and participating in the democratic process. Those lived experiences drove Price to work with civil rights stakeholders to develop this bold, proactive bill to ensure no one’s right to vote is ever abridged or denied.

Price worked closely with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, New Virginia Majority, and Advancement Project National Office in crafting this important legislation.

“We applaud the introduction of the Voting Rights Act of Virginia, a bill that seeks to expand ballot access, limit voter intimidation, and protect the right to vote for all Virginians especially African-Americans and people of color,” said Marcia Johnson-Blanco, co-director of the Voting Rights Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “It is vitally important that voters are made aware of and have the opportunity to weigh in regarding changes in voting laws that create barriers to the vote. We believe this bill is the perfect complement to federal voting laws that address voter discrimination.”

Tram Nguyen, co-executive director of New Virginia Majority said, “The Voting Rights Act of Virginia promotes a healthy democracy by offering a process under state law to fix unfair election practices that diminish the voting power of racial and language minorities, and gives every voter a fair chance to elect candidates of their choice.” She continued, “The bill also provides a fix to the widespread problem of voter exclusion in local elections that prevent minority groups from electing any candidates that represent their community due to polarized voting in at-large districts. Our democracy is strongest when our elected officials reflect the communities they aim to serve. It’s time to pass The Voting Rights Act of Virginia.”

Judith Browne Dianis, executive director of the Advancement Project National Office, said, “It is imperative that Virginia protects the right to vote and ensures that barriers are not created that harm participation of voters of color and limited English language voters. HB 1890 is a strong step to prevent voter disenfranchisement and make sure every voice can be heard at the ballot box.”


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