WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new group called the Business for Voting Rights Coalition published a letter to Congress on Wednesday urging the passage of legislation to restore key provisions of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the VRA in Shelby County v. Holder, ruling that the formula used to determine which states were subject to federal “preclearance” requirements when passing new election laws was unconstitutional. A new formula has not been passed yet, leaving the VRA without a key enforcement mechanism.
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (JLVRAA) establishes a new formula and restores many of the provisions of the VRA that have since been hollowed out. The Business for Voting Rights Coalition letter references the legislation as one option for restoring voting rights protections, but does not explicitly urge Congress to pass the current version of the bill. “Congress needs to amend the Voting Rights Act to restore necessary safeguards by updating the Voting Rights Act’s coverage formula to prevent voting discrimination,” the letter says. “Legislation amending the Voting Rights Act must help ensure that voters of color who remain the targets of voter suppression have equal and unfettered access to the democratic process.”
The signatories of the letter include Amazon, Starbucks, Facebook, IKEA, Lyft, Microsoft, Target, Tesla and Zoom. Notably absent was Coca-Cola, which released its own short statement calling for the reauthorization of the VRA.