With Calls By Some To Intimidate Voters At The Polls, Leahy & Schumer Press DOJ To Protect Americans’ Right To Vote

The upcoming presidential election is the first since 1965 in which Americans will not have the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. Concerned by reports of voter intimidation throughout the country, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Friday urged the Justice Department to ensure that Americans do not face intimidation at the polls. 

“All Americans – regardless of party affiliation – deserve free and fair elections,” the senators wrote in a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “No eligible voter should be intimidated, harassed, or otherwise prevented from exercising their right to vote and to participate in the democratic process. We are a better country when more, not fewer, Americans are engaged in our democratic process.”

They added: “We urge the Department of Justice to take every step necessary to ensure that voter intimidation and voter discrimination are not occurring at the polls. And anyone who engages in illegal acts of voter intimidation or discrimination should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” 

Leahy is the lead author of the Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore and expand on the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. Schumer is a cosponsor of the legislation. Since the Supreme Court gutted the core of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder three years ago, states and localities throughout the country have passed sweeping laws that disproportionately suppress the voting rights of minorities. These laws have left voters without the protections they need to exercise their constitutional right to vote, as recently detailed by the New York Times

A copy of the October 28 letter to Attorney General Lynch is online.

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