BALTIMORE, MD (September 10, 2019)—On Tuesday, September 10th at 10am EDT, NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson will testify before the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives in support of key legislation that would expand our governing process, protect groups that have historically been disenfranchised and assure the American people that their government is free of and safe from foreign influence.
“There is nothing more important than protecting and defending our democracy,” said Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP. “Voter suppression has played a huge role in silencing the political voices of the African American community and all people of color historically and during the 2018 midterm election season. We must now look forward and prepare for the 2019 and 2020 election cycles and the imminent threats that are facing the Census and our democracy. The NAACP is determined to shape a culture of voting and reach people who don’t vote regularly, especially those who believe their votes don’t matter.”
NAACP is calling on the U.S. Senate to pass and President Trump to sign into law the “For the People Act” (H.R. 1 / S. 949)—a comprehensive bill that would expand and protect Americans’ access to the ballot box. This legislation includes many of the tools the NAACP has identified that would improve voter turn-out including provisions to promote automatic voter registration; same-day voter registration; early voting; voting by mail; the re-enfranchisement of ex-felony offenders; an improvement in provisional ballots; while at the same time prohibiting voter caging, voter deception and voter intimidation.
To protect groups which have historically been disenfranchised, the NAACP also supports and calls for the enactment of the “Voting Rights Advancement Act” (H.R. 4 / S. 561). This seminal legislation would repair and strengthen the 1965 Voting Rights Act and would modernize the preclearance formula to cover states with an historical pattern and practice of discrimination; ensure that last-minute voting changes won’t adversely affect voters; protect voters from the types of voting changes most likely to discriminate against people of color and language minorities; enhance the ability to apply a preclearance review when needed; expand the effective Federal Observer Program; and improve voting rights protections for Native Americans and Alaska Natives.
Lastly, the NAACP calls on the Senate to pass and President Trump to sign into law the “Securing America’s Federal Elections” or “SAFE” Act (H.R. 2722 / S. 2053), which would provide resources to ensure elections are secure, accurate, and free from foreign intervention for the foreseeable future. Safeguards include ensuring that state and local election officials can replace aging voting machines with voter-verified paper ballot voting systems.
Throughout history, the NAACP has advocated and worked against such racist and heinous obstacles as America’s Jim Crow laws and the Black Codes, among others. As such, the 110-year organization was instrumental in the development and enactment of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and its reauthorizations, the 1992 National Voter Registration Act, (NRVA or Motor Voter Law), and the 2002 Help America Vote Act as well as several other key pieces of Federal legislation aimed at enhancing, ensuring, and protecting Americans’ right to vote.
Johnson, will testify alongside Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Dale Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties’ Voting Rights Project; Myrna Perez, director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s Voting Rights and Elections Program, and Natalie A. Landreth, senior staff attorney at the Native American Rights Fund.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas here.