Description

Free and fair elections are a cornerstone of democracy. However, for the duration of its history, the United States has been plagued by disenfranchisement and voter suppression. The 1965 Voting Rights Act, partly drafted in the Religious Action Center’s library, was a monumental step forward in protecting the freedom to vote. It helped block laws that denied Americans the equal right to vote based on race and enacted federal voting protections. Yet in the past two decades, Americans’ access to the ballot box has been curtailed through a range of actions.

The 2013 Shelby v. Holder Supreme Court decision gutted a crucial part of the Voting Rights Act which contained a formula requiring certain areas with a history of disenfranchisement problems to seek pre-clearance from the Department of Justice when making changes to election procedures. Just 24 hours after the release of the Shelby decision, Texas announced a plan to implement a strict photo ID requirement for voting. Since then, 21 states enacted new restrictive voting requirements and across 13 states, 1,688 polling sites have closed, which overwhelmingly impacts and limits access to the ballot for Communities of Color. Along with our partners, the Reform Movement continues to push for a restoration of the voting rights act and efforts to ensure equal access to the freedom to vote so that the promise of democracy is made real for us all.

Take Action

Urge your Senators to support S. 1 and make the promise of democracy real for us all

Last November, despite the pandemic and a patchwork of barriers to the ballot box across the country, more than 159 million Americans voted in the 2020 elections, the highest rates seen in over a century. However, some elected officials want to roll back this progress by creating more barriers to vote. The right to vote is fundamental in a democracy and we must ensure that elections are accessible for all. The For the People Act (H.R.1/S.1) is a broad bill, that among its provisions, will protect the freedom to vote by establishing national standards for federal elections and ensuring that voter registration and voting options are equally accessible across the United States.

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Sign outside polling place that says: Vote Here

What's New

As a New US Citizen, I Know Won’t Take Voting Rights for Granted

October 5, 2021
The use of executive power to protect our right to vote has never been more important: over 400 anti-voter bills have been introduced around the country in 2021 alone. Examples include the elimination of polling locations, reducing early voting, and enacting stricter voter ID laws. Some laws sink to new lows, including the banning of providing food and drink to those standing in line to vote, many of whom wait for hours.

Related Press Releases

Reform Jewish Movement Statement in Support of Filibuster Reform

In response to the Senate filibuster of the motion to proceed to the consideration of the Freedom to Vote Act, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center, issued the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis in support of filibuster reform that achieves a proper balance between majority and minority rights in the Senate.

Reform Movement Calls for Voting Rights Legislation After Harmful Supreme Court Decision

“The right to vote in safe, free, and accessible elections is fundamental to the promise of American democracy. We are deeply disappointed by today’s Supreme Court decision upholding Arizona voting laws that have made it particularly difficult for Latinx, Native American, and Black voters to make their voices heard in elections. This decision jeopardizes Arizonans’ and all Americans’ right to vote.

Reform Judaism's Resolutions on Civil Rights and Voting Rights

Learn more about the position of the Reform Movement on these key issues, and read the formal resolutions by URJ and CCAR.

View URJ Resolutions View Resolutions From Our Partners

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Contact Our Legislative Assistants

For more information on this issue, contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Josh Burg at (202) 796-6508