For Immediate Release: July 23rd, 2013
Sen. Wielechowski: Congress Should Restore Voting Rights Act
ANCHORAGE – Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) announced today that he will introduce a resolution urging Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act, parts of which the U.S. Supreme Court recently struck down.
“For nearly fifty years, the Voting Rights Act has protected all Americans’ right to vote,” Wielechowski said. “It has ensured that state and local election practices are just and fair, when officials have tried to throw roadblocks in the way of voters.”
Wielechowski noted that even in Alaska the Act has protected access to the polls.
“Just two years ago, the Department of Justice stopped the state from eliminating several voting precincts in rural Alaska, which would have forced voters in three villages to travel up to 77 miles off the road system to vote,” he said. “The Act has helped ensure that all Alaskans – no matter where you live or who you are – can cast a ballot.”
In addition, last week two Yup’ik elders and two tribal organizations filed suit, alleging the state has failed to provide language assistance to Alaska voters with limited ability to read English, in violation of the Voting Rights Act.
Wielechowski called on members of the legislature and Congress to do everything in their power to vigorously defend this fundamental democratic right.
“The Act passed in 1965 with broad bipartisan support,” Wielechowski said. “When it was reauthorized in 2006, every single member of the U.S. Senate, including Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski, voted for it. Now it’s time to fix the problems identified by the Supreme Court and restore this cornerstone of democracy.”
For more information, contact Senator Wielechowski at (907) 242-1558 or Michelle Sydeman at (907) 321-1944.