The Congressional Black Caucus strives to preserve and extend the coverage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Since its founding in 1971, the CBC’s members have sponsored bills that protect and ensure the voting rights of many underrepresented and disenfranchised groups in the United States.
CBC members have introduced bills to amend the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and to safeguard the civil liberties of the citizens of the United States. In 1975, Andrew Young (D-GA) sponsored legislation that extended certain provisions of the Voting Rights Act for an additional ten years. CBC members such as Charles Rangel (D-NY) and John Conyers (D-MI) fought to extend provisions of the Voting Rights Act.
John Conyers (D-MI) has been at the forefront of the CBC’s fight to safeguard the voting rights of all Americans. During the 1980s, he introduced a number of bills to protect the voting rights guaranteed by the 14th and 15th Amendments of the Constitution. He also introduced legislation that would prohibit the requirement that a majority, rather than a plurality, of votes cast in a primary election for federal office be obtained in order to achieve nomination. In the 1990s, Conyers sought to establish national voter registration procedures for federal elections. He also sponsored a bill to secure the voting rights of former felons who have been released from incarceration. In 2002, he introduced bills to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to protect voting rights and to improve the administration of federal elections.
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have also been concerned with the voting rights of the growing bilingual population of citizens. In 1992, Alan Wheat (D-MO) introduced a resolution providing for the consideration of the bill to amend the Voting Rights Act of 1965 with respect to bilingual election requirements. Since that time, CBC members have sponsored bills to protect the voting rights of homeless citizens and former felons.
Most recently, CBC members fought against the harsh critics in Congress who fought against the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. In 2006, a 390-33 House vote in favor of reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act sent the bill to the Senate.