Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens has released the following statement regarding the decision by the Supreme Court of the United States in Shelby County v. Holder:
"When the Voting Rights Act was passed in the 1960s, several states and local jurisdictions, including Georgia, discriminated against minority voters.
Discrimination is wrong, and Section 5 was an appropriate response. I am pleased, however, that the Supreme Court recognized today that, "[n]early 50 years later, things have changed dramatically."
The Voting Rights Act will continue to protect the rights of all voters in all states, but will no longer treat some states differently based on outdated formulas that, thankfully, no longer reflect current practices.
Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act makes clear that racial discrimination in voting is illegal nationwide, and remains a strong and effective tool to counter discrimination."
Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) issued the following statement after the Supreme Court issued its decision on Shelby County v. Holder that invalidates Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act:
"As citizens of this great country, one of our most cherished rights under the U.S. Constitution is our right to vote. Personally, I am deeply disappointed in the Supreme Court's decision to nullify the coverage formula in Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, as it disregards the overwhelming evidence that discrimination still exists at the voting booth," said Congressman Bishop.
Continued Bishop, "The Voting Rights Act is one of the most critical pieces of legislation that protects ballot access for all Americans, and I believe that this setback will have a very real and very detrimental impact on voting rights for millions of voters in Georgia and across the country. Congress must now work in a bipartisan and responsible way to revise the coverage formula and ensure that voting rights will be protected into the future."
Viewed as the nation's most effective civil rights law and tool to combat discrimination in voting, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was enacted to protect suffrage for minority voters, which included literacy tests, poll taxes, vouchers of 'good character', and disenfranchisement for 'crimes of moral turpitude'.
Congress voted to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act (VRA) until 2031 by an overwhelming, bipartisan vote of 390-33 in the House and 98-0 in the Senate.
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has released the following statement:
Georgia and the rest of the nation have made tremendous progress in the past 50 years. In recognizing that the current formulation for protection in Section Four of the Voting Rights Act is outdated and obsolete, the Supreme Court validated this progress today. Our Constitution, our Bill of Rights and Section Two of the Voting Rights Act prohibit any form of racial discrimination within the democratic process. As Georgia's chief elections official, it is my sacred duty to uphold this.