87R6391 TBO-D
  By: Reynolds H.C.R. No. 20
         WHEREAS, Since the U.S. Supreme Court eviscerated the Voting
  Rights Act of 1965 with its decision in Shelby County v. Holder,
  many citizens have confronted new barriers to participation in our
  democracy; and
         WHEREAS, During the Civil Rights Era, the United States
  Congress passed the Voting Rights Act to prevent government at all
  levels from enacting laws or policies that deny American citizens
  the right to vote based on race or ethnicity; one of the key
  provisions, Section 5, requires jurisdictions with a history of
  discrimination to obtain prior federal approval of changes to
  voting rules that could affect minorities; for nearly five decades,
  this provision, known as preclearance, served as a bulwark against
  disenfranchisement, blocking discrimination before it occurred;
         WHEREAS, On June 25, 2013, in its Shelby County decision, a
  sharply divided Supreme Court rendered Section 5 inoperable by
  invalidating as antiquated Section 4(b), the formula used to
  determine the states and localities covered by preclearance; absent
  congressional resolve to update the formula, lawmakers in many
  states and districts seized the opportunity to revive voting
  changes that had been blocked, to move forward with changes
  previously deterred, and to implement new discriminatory
  restrictions; such measures included draconian voter ID laws, the
  elimination of early voting opportunities, and the closing or
  moving of hundreds and likely thousands of polling sites; all of
  these actions, which disproportionately affected minorities,
  low-income communities, people with disabilities, and students,
  would previously have required federal approval under Section 5;
         WHEREAS, Court rulings and studies alike have shown that in
  the wake of Shelby County, discrimination is widespread; the
  nonpartisan Election Protection coalition undertook a
  comprehensive review of the 2016 presidential election and found a
  range of barriers to voting, including improper enforcement of
  voter ID laws, dissemination of incorrect or deceptive information,
  failure to provide information, and voter intimidation; the
  organization concluded that without an enforceable Section 5,
  approximately 24 percent of the nonwhite voting-age population is
  more vulnerable to discriminatory election practices; and
         WHEREAS, For more than a half century, the Voting Rights Act
  has been a vital means of quelling discrimination in the form of
  inequitable redistricting plans, onerous voter ID laws, artificial
  barriers to voting, elimination of early voting opportunities, and
  unfair polling place changes; without a functioning Section 5,
  however, expensive litigation is required to fight unjust voting
  laws, and while legal proceedings drag on, countless voters are
  denied the right to cast ballots; the Supreme Court left it to
  Congress to modernize the formula to determine which states and
  jurisdictions are to be covered by Section 5, and new legislation is
  urgently needed to restore and strengthen the Voting Rights Act;
         WHEREAS, The United States was founded on the principle that
  we are all created equal, and as the world's leading democracy, we
  must set the standard for free, fair, and accessible elections in
  which every vote is counted; now, therefore, be it
         RESOLVED, That the 87th Legislature of the State of Texas
  hereby urge the United States Congress to restore and strengthen
  the Voting Rights Act of 1965; and, be it further
         RESOLVED, That the Texas secretary of state forward official
  copies of this resolution to the president of the United States, to
  the president of the Senate and the speaker of the House of
  Representatives of the United States Congress, and to all the
  members of the Texas delegation to Congress with the request that
  this resolution be entered in the Congressional Record as a
  memorial to the Congress of the United States of America.