Chad Dunn, Director of the UCLA Voting Rights Project, an advocacy arm of the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute, issued the following statement in response to the U.S. House of Representatives passage of H.R.4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act:
“Recent events have tested our country’s commitment to democratic elections, and demonstrated the need for a new and updated Voting Rights Act that continues to protect the right to vote and ensures that there is no racial discrimination in our voting process. We applaud the House for taking the important step of passing new legislation that honors the important contributions of American heroes such as Congressman John Lewis and commits this nation to protecting our democratic principles and institutions.”
“The UCLA VRP is proud of the testimony and information we offered to support the congressional record behind H.R. 4 and we are thankful for the bill drafters in hearing out UCLA VRP proposals and incorporating many of them in the bill.”
“We urge the Senate to pass this bill with the necessary urgency that is needed to continue living up to our constitutional ideals. At the UCLA Voting Rights Project, we are committed to fighting every attack on our voting rights to ensure that every American, regardless of the color of their skin, can exercise the most sacred of our civic responsibilities.”
On Aug. 6, the 56th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, Rep. G.K Butterfield, chairman of the Subcommittee on Elections, released a “Voting in America” report that included expert testimony from UCLA LPPI’s Matt Barreto and Sonja Diaz. Their contributions added to the report’s identification of six discrete voting and election administration practices that were found to cause discriminatory harm to voters, including voter ID laws and the lack of access to multilingual voting materials. These findings were instrumental in laying the groundwork and the evidentiary basis to support the new voting rights legislation that was approved by the House.
In December 2020, the UCLA Voting Rights Project hosted a symposium bringing together voting rights practitioners, expert witnesses, and legal scholars from around the country to explore a path forward for protecting the right to vote and crafting a 21st Century Voting Rights Act.
ABOUT THE UCLA LATINO POLICY AND POLITICS INSTITUTE
The UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute addresses the most critical domestic policy challenges facing Latinos and other communities of color through research, advocacy, mobilization, and leadership development to expand genuine opportunity for all Americans.
ABOUT THE UCLA VOTING RIGHTS PROJECT
The UCLA Voting Rights Project (VRP) is the marquee advocacy project of the UCLA LatinoPolicy and Politics Institute (LPPI) at the University of California, Los Angeles and is focused on voting rights litigation, research, policy, and training. The UCLA Voting Rights Project addresses monumental and overlooked gaps in the field of voting rights: how to train young lawyers and researchers, support the development of new legal and methodological theories for voting rights cases, and how to advance policy work to ensure that there is a new generation of leaders who are pursuing efforts to guarantee all citizens have equal and fair access to our democracy. The project was founded by Chad W. Dunn, J.D. and Matt Barreto, Ph.D. The UCLA Voting Rights Project is located within the Luskin School of Public Affairs.