Statement from Priorities USA Deputy Executive Director Aneesa McMillan on the 10th Anniversary of the Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court Decision

June 25, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Priorities USA Deputy Executive Director Aneesa McMillan issued the following statement marking the 10th anniversary of the Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court ruling that undermined federal protections for Black voters and other marginalized communities against discriminatory state election laws:

“In the 10 years since the Supreme Court’s disheartening decision to allow states that have historically disenfranchised Black and brown voters to freely enact restrictive voting laws, we have seen voter suppression run rampant as state legislatures put up barrier after barrier to prevent equal access to the ballot. The absence of federal oversight has proven nothing short of devastating for Black and brown voters who face an increasingly long list of hurdles when exercising their fundamental right to vote, whether it is due to polling site closures in majority Black areas, being purged from voter rolls at a disproportionately high rate, or having to meet burdensome requirements to cast a ballot, just to name a few.

The past ten years have served as a painful reminder of what so many of us have known to be true — racism is not just a relic of the past, but an ever-present and pervasive force that continues to weaken the very tenets of our democracy. Sections 4 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act were necessary safeguards to help rectify that harm, and I lament each day since the Shelby decision that the Court has allowed state-sponsored discrimination in our elections to go largely unchecked. As the anniversary comes on the heels of the historic voting rights win in Alabama, it should not be lost on us that the Shelby decision cleared the way for the racial gerrymandering that the Supreme Court ultimately overturned in the Allen v. Milligan case.

As we wait for Congress and the courts to do their part to dignify and affirm the right to vote for all Americans, Priorities USA will continue the fight against voter suppression at the state level through our litigation program, voter education initiatives, and unending support for those working to protect and expand access to the ballot.”