SACRAMENTO : California Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber, Ph.D., had the following response to the Unites States Department of Justice’s announcement to pursue legal action against the State of Georgia for racially discriminatory provisions of the state’s election laws:
“Hallelujah! Today the federal government made loud and clear its intention to protect the voting rights of every American citizen. Over the last four years, not only did the U.S. Justice Department drop the ball, but it abdicated its responsibility to defend this most sacred American right and the lynchpin of democracy. All the while, the Supreme Court gutted key provisions of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. I applaud this Department of Justice for stepping in to defend this crucial constitutional baseline for democratic government.
“Throughout U.S. history, when the federal government has withdrawn from the election space, voter suppression has filled the void. Jim Crow laws took root in this country when the federal government failed to step in out of a misplaced regard for “states’ rights” — an oft-used cover for racist policies. It is the federal government’s mandate – it’s imperative — to protect Americans from voter suppression no matter which state they live in.
“Backslides to “states’ rights” have never ended well for Black Americans and the current raft of voter suppression legislation wouldn’t either. No matter where you live in this country if you’re an adult citizen, your access to the ballot should be secure and your voice should be heard.
“As the chief elections officer of the largest state in the nation, I see the expansion of voting access to the people of California as fundamental to the duties of my office. In that spirit, I welcome the Department of Justice’s signal today that those who wish to curtail the voting rights of our fellow citizens will have a fight from the highest reaches of government on their hands.”