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January 16, 2014: JCPA Applauds Bipartisan VRA Legislation

05:18 PM Jan 16, 2014

JCPA Applauds Bipartisan VRA Legislation

WASHINGTON, DC - The Jewish Council for Public Affairs applauded Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and John Conyers (D-MI) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) for introducing a bipartisan, bicameral update to the Voting Rights Act. The JCPA urged Congress to consider this critical legislation quickly and ensure that every American citizen has the opportunity to cast a meaningful ballot.

“The health of our democracy – one that is responsible to the needs and aspirations of the people – depends on fair and open elections. The Voting Rights Act (VRA) has been our nation’s most important mechanism to ensure that every American citizen can participate meaningfully in our democracy” said JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow. “ Last year’s Supreme Court decision, while disappointing, did not invalidate the entire VRA nor deny its continued importance. What it did was require an update, which is exactly what this bipartisan legislation does. We applaud the Members of Congress who rose to the challenge and worked together to modernize and maintain this cornerstone civil rights measure.”

“The Jewish community has a proud history of fighting for civil rights and played an active role in crafting the original VRA in 1965. Both our country and the organizations at that table have come a long way in those intervening years, but the everyday work of expanding opportunity and confronting discrimination continues. As the challenges change, so must our policies and tools. We are encouraged by the introduction of this bipartisan, bicameral bill to update the VRA” said JCPA Chair Larry Gold. “Today marks the first step in ensuring the VRA remains the bulwark against discrimination and disenfranchisement that it had been for fifty years.  The health of our representative democracy is based on the principle that all citizens can participate in the process.  Our challenge now is to live up to those ideals and aspirations.”

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