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Salem, OR—Earlier today, the United States Supreme Court issued a 6-3 decision in Brnovich vs. DNC. This decision has serious and damaging implications for the future of the Voting Rights Act of 1964. In January 2021, as one of her first official acts as Oregon Secretary of State, Secretary Fagan joined 70 current and former elections leaders from across the country in an amicus brief defending voting rights. The following is Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan’s statement on today’s decision:

“The Supreme Court’s decision today is a catastrophic outcome for voting rights across our country. As Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her dissent, 'The Voting Rights Act is ambitious, in both goal and scope. When President Lyndon Johnson sent the bill to Congress, ten days after John Lewis led marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, he explained that it was ‘carefully drafted to meet its objective—the end of discrimination in voting in America’.

This stands in contrast to Oregon who has continued make it easier for Oregonians to cast their ballot by breaking down barriers to voting. From accepting ballots postmarked on Election Day to providing election information in multiple languages to making it simple and easy to register, Oregon continues to lead the way.

The Supreme Court has kicked away the foundation of the Voting Rights Act, effectively allowing the disenfranchisement of American voters, especially those who’ve historically been prevented from exercising this sacred right. To again quote the dissent by Justice Elena Kagan, 'What is tragic here is that the Court has (yet again) rewritten—in order to weaken—a statute that stands as a monument to America’s greatness, and protects against its basest impulses. What is tragic is that the Court has damaged a statute designed to bring about the end of discrimination in voting.'

More must be done across the country. Congress must act to strengthen voting rights and access to the ballot for all Americans by passing the For the People Act (HR 1). I will not rest until every American voter enjoys the same privileges and access as Oregonians.”

An audio recording of Secretary Fagan’s statement can be found here:

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Ben Morris