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Congressman Bobby Scott

Representing the 3rd District of Virginia

Voting Rights

Congressman Scott believes that voting is the very foundation of our democracy.  To underscore his belief, he often quotes the Supreme Court's decision in Wesberry v. Sanders (1964), where the Court states:

No right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws under which, as good citizens, we must live.  Other rights, even the most basic, are illusory if the right to vote is undermined.

Congressman Scott is an ardent supporter of the Voting Rights Act and was instrumental in the passage of the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, César Chávez, Barbara C. Jordan, William C. Velásquez, and Dr. Hector P. Garcia Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006.  In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County v. Holder, a ruling that significantly undermined the effectiveness of the Voting Rights Act, Congressman Scott joined a small group of his colleagues in Congress to delicately craft a bi-partisan legislative fix to appropriately address the Court's concerns in Shelby County and ensure that the core protections of the Voting Rights Act are restored.

Congressman Scott is working tirelessly to ensure that this legislation passes Congress so that no one's right to vote is infringed.  

More on Voting Rights

September 4, 2016 In The News
IN THE 1964 LANDMARK decision Wesberry v. Sanders, the U.S. Supreme Court stated that “[n]o right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws under which, as good citizens, we must live. Other rights, even the most basic, are illusory if the right to vote is undermined.” Sadly, many state and local governments responded to this assessment by continuing their sordid history of blocking access to the ballot box. To ensure that American citizens were not stripped of this precious constitutional right, Congress passed and President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
July 23, 2016 Press Release
NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement on yesterday’s decision by the Supreme Court of Virginia in Howell v. McAuliffe striking down Governor Terry McAuliffe’s April 2016 executive order restoring the voting rights of more than 200,000 formerly incarcerated individuals: “Yesterday’s decision by the Supreme Court of Virginia is very disappointing. Virginia is one of the few states in the Union that still permanently disenfranchises formerly incarcerated individuals who have already paid their debt to society. The history behind the reasoning for this provision of Virginia law is striking and appalling.
August 6, 2015 Press Release
NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Congressman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott released the following statement on the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965: "The Voting Rights Act was one of the most consequential pieces of legislation of the Civil Rights Movement. The right to vote is the very foundation of our democracy. The Supreme Court noted in their 1964 decision in Wesberry v. Sanders that ‘no right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws under which, as good citizens, we must live. Other rights, even the most basic, are illusory if the right to vote is undermined.’ For the last 50 years, the Voting Rights Act has helped to guarantee that no one’s right to vote is undermined. The law has been instrumental in increasing voter participation, allowing minority communities to elect candidates of their choice, and increasing the number of African Americans and other minorities in elected positions at the local, state and federal levels of government.
October 7, 2014 Press Release
NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott issued the following statement on the U.S. District Court in Richmond overturning the boundary lines of Virginia’s Third Congressional District and mandating the Virginia General Assembly redraw the district by April 2015: "I was not involved in this lawsuit. However, during the last round of redistricting in 2011, I was a strong proponent of the redistricting plan sponsored by State Senator Mamie Locke, which made all congressional districts in the Commonwealth more compact and contiguous. I hope and expect the General Assembly will more equitably and appropriately balance the influence of all Virginia’s voters, as mandated by this decision, when they redraw the third congressional district and adjacent congressional districts next session."
September 25, 2014 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations on the House Judiciary Committee, released the following statement on Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement that he will resign from the Department of Justice upon the confirmation of his successor: “Attorney General Holder has diligently served as our nation’s top law enforcement official for the last six years. During his tenure, I have enjoyed working with him on efforts to reform our nation’s sentencing laws, protect voting rights, and guarantee the civil rights of all Americans. His leadership was instrumental in passage of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which I sponsored in the House.
August 6, 2014 Press Release
NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Congressman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott released the following statement on the 49th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965: "The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was one of the most consequential pieces of legislation of the Civil Rights Movement. For the last 49 years, the Voting Rights Act has helped ensure that no one's right to vote is infringed. Unfortunately, as we mark this anniversary, we must recognize that we still have work to do to restore the core protections of the Voting Rights Act. Last year's Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder dealt a striking blow to the Voting Rights Act by ruling the coverage formula in Section 4 of the law unconstitutional.
April 2, 2014 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Tonight, Congressman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (VA-03) was presented a Congressional Leadership Award by the National Urban League for his work on protecting voting rights for all Americans and for his leadership role in the introduction and championing of the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014.
January 31, 2014 Press Release
In 1964, the Supreme Court noted in Wesberry v. Saunders, "No right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws under which, as good citizens, we must live. Other rights, even the most basic, are illusory if the right to vote is undermined." While this is certainly true, there is an unfortunate history in our country of blocking access to the ballot box for minorities. For this reason, Congress passed and President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965.The Voting Rights Act contains several important provisions; however, the pre-clearance provision in Section 5 is the essence of the law's protections. Section 5 requires states and jurisdictions with a documented history of discrimination to submit changes to their election laws or procedures to the U.S. Department of Justice for approval.
January 22, 2014 Press Release
NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Congressman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott, a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement on the report and recommendations of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration released this morning:"I commend the President for establishing this commission of experts to review election administration in the United States. During the 2012 election, there were numerous reports of severely long lines at the polls throughout Virginia on Election Day, as well as reports of issues with voter registration.
January 16, 2014 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-02), John Conyers (MI-13), John Lewis (GA-05), Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (VA-03), Steve Chabot (OH-01), Shelia Jackson-Lee (TX-18), Spencer Bachus (AL-06), Steny Hoyer (MD-05), and Sean Duffy (WI-07) introduced the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 (H.R. 3899). The legislation updates the Voting Rights Act in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder.