WASHINGTON — Today, Hip Hop Caucus’ Director of Democracy Reform, Chris Walton, issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit’s decision ruling against section 2 of the Voting Rights Act:
“As people around the nation prepare to gather and celebrate the many things that we have to be thankful for this week, the 8th US. Circuit Court of Appeals has reaffirmed that we all don’t have an equal right to democracy via the Voting Rights Act. A 2-1 panel upheld a lower court ruling to dismiss an Arkansas redistricting case because it was brought by a private advocacy group. Under the panel’s decision, only the US Attorney General can challenge inequitable redistricting under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. This is a gross misinterpretation of the legislation and given the 5th Circuit’s recent decision to uphold fifty years of precedent for a private citizen’s right to challenge unfair redistricting, this issue is likely to head to the Supreme Court.
Since this groundbreaking civil rights era legislation was first passed, it has been the shield that many community-based organizations and individual voters have used against the worst attempts at voter suppression.
Hip Hop Caucus stands with our coalition partners in supporting the many legislative vehicles that are being put forward to expand voting rights to everyone in this nation, helping to make sure that people’s voices are heard and their votes are respected. This decision today strikes directly at the heart of our mission and at the heart of a multiracial democratic society we claim to be as the United States of America. This cannot stand.”