Nearly eight years after U.S. Supreme Court invalidated key provisions of the 1965 federal Voting Rights Act, new state law will protect and expand access to the ballot box
RICHMOND, VA (STL.News) Governor Ralph Northam announced he has approved the landmark Voting Rights Act of Virginia, providing comprehensive protections against voter suppression, discrimination, or intimidation. He made minor technical amendments to Senate Bill 1395, sponsored by Senator Jennifer McClellan, and House Bill 1890, sponsored by Delegate Marcia Price, which prohibit any state or local policy from denying or restricting the right to vote of any Virginian simply because of their race, color, or membership in a language minority group. Virginia is the first state in the nation to enact its own version of a voting rights act.
“At a time when voting rights are under attack across our country, Virginia is expanding access to the ballot box, not restricting it,” said Governor Northam. “With the Voting Rights Act of Virginia, our Commonwealth is creating a model for how states can provide comprehensive voter protections that strengthen democracy and the integrity of our elections. I am proud to support this historic legislation, and I urge Congress to follow Virginia’s example.”
Much like the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act proposed at the federal level, the Virginia law will restore and build on provisions of the since-gutted 1965 federal Voting Rights Act.