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Clarke Statement on Shelby County v. Holder Decision

BROOKLYN, NY – U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke issued the following statement after the Supreme Court rendered a decision in the case of Shelby County v. Holder abolished a key provision in the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“I am extremely disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder which has obliterated the advancements our nation has made to combat racial inequality through the protection of the right to vote,” stated Representative Clarke. “It took one hundred and fifty years to attain the Emancipation Proclamation and another one hundred years for the Voting Rights Act; however, it will take an eternity to protect those rights in perpetuity.”

The Supreme Court chose to ignore the comprehensive Congressional record which details present-day acts of discrimination in the electoral process aimed at communities of color. Although the pre-clearance requirement of Section Five has been left unchanged, the ruling gutted the relevant application of Section Five to the many Southern states, in addition to, jurisdictions like the protected counties of New York State, the counties of the Bronx, New York, and Kings, where the district I represent is located.

The Court held that the coverage formula in Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act was unconstitutional. Prior to this decision, New York State was required by law to receive clearance from the Justice Department or a Federal Court before changes to voting procedures such as moving polling sites, or redrawing electoral districts, were made. In just a few short months, New York City plans to revert back to its use of the old lever voting machines which has raised concerns among many in the Voting Rights community with respect to the disenfranchisement of minority voters. 

“Without federal oversight, this fundamental right, the bedrock and foundation of our democracy as we know it will be jeopardized.  I remain committed to working closely with my colleagues in Congress to ensure every necessary protection for the right to vote is reinstated,” stated Representative Clarke. “I call upon my colleagues across the aisle to make a courageous step towards finding a bipartisan legislative solution to ensure the integrity of the voting process is preserved, as we have historically done.”



U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke is a member of the House Committee on Small Business, where she is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations; Ethics; and Homeland Security, where she is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies. She represents several neighborhoods in central and southern Brooklyn, NY which includes Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Midwood, Ocean Hill, parts of Park Slope and Flatlands, Prospect Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Sheepshead Bay, and Windsor Terrace.