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The Voting Rights Act: Still Essential to Our Democracy
WASHINGTON - February 27 - After the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Shelby County vs. Holder, Eliseo Medina, Secretary-Treasurer of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), issued the following statement:
"The most sacred right in our democracy is the right to vote. Along with hundreds of allies, we rallied today because that right is threatened in Alabama and in far too many states. Just last year, we saw the old Alabama resurface when it passed HB 56, a law that legalizes discrimination and ethnic profiling of immigrants and takes Alabama back to the dark days of racial hatred and division that we thought were left in the past.
"Unfortunately this is not happening only in Alabama. In 2012, we saw efforts to disenfranchise voters in Texas, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and elsewhere - but voters were protected by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. That is why this case is so important - to make sure that no one is disenfranchised or stripped of their right to vote.
"Some politicians think they can draw lines on the map wherever, and however they want in order to protect their political power and privileges. Some want to put up barriers to voting like photo ID laws or reducing the hours for early voting or making it more difficult to register to vote. Today, we joined together to tell them that is not going to happen. Regardless of race or where we live, we all deserve the right to vote. Nobody can take that away from us because the American people won't stand for it, and because we'll fight to protect it."