Jeb Bush’s Opposition to the VRA is Exceptionally Troubling

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Republican presidential candidates have had plenty of opportunities to talk about voting rights.

Their debate last month was at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, and happened just hours after the NAACP’s America’s Journey for Justice rallied in Washington, D.C., and advocated on Capitol Hill for legislation to restore the Voting Rights Act (VRA). The setting would have been appropriate – as president, Reagan reauthorized the VRA in 1982 for 25 years, and said “the right to vote is the crown jewel of American liberties, and we will not see its luster diminished.”

Their first debate in Cleveland was actually held on the VRA’s 50th anniversary. It also marked 40 years since President Gerald Ford, a Republican, extended the law.

Ten years ago when the law turned 40, Republican president George W. Bush issued a proclamation calling for the anniversary to be a day of celebration to honor the VRA.

“America is a stronger and better Nation because of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. As President Johnson said upon signing the Act, it is ‘a triumph for freedom as huge as any victory that has ever been won on any battlefield.’ The Act was a great step forward in the history of our Nation, and it remains essential as we continue our progress toward a society in which every person of every background can realize the American Dream.”

A year later, Bush reauthorized the law for 25 more years.

Given the opportunities that Republican presidential candidates have had to discuss the law, and given, especially, the law’s overwhelmingly bipartisan history, it’s frustrating that Bush’s brother, Gov. Jeb Bush, doesn’t think the law is necessary. On October 8, Jeb said at an event in Iowa that “There has been dramatic improvement in access to voting” and that he would not reauthorize the law.

As Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, points out, “As Florida’s Governor, Jeb Bush oversaw the wrongful purge of thousands of Black voters from Florida’s voting roles, leading to a Voting Rights Act lawsuit against the state. Florida is now largely known for its seven-hour voting lines in African-American precincts.”

George W. Bush traveled to Selma earlier this year to honor Bloody Sunday’s foot soldiers and sat on a stage at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge as President Obama called on Congress to restore the VRA in the wake of Shelby County v. Holder.

Ari Berman, writing for The Nation, probably concluded best: “It’s a shame Jeb didn’t make the trip – he might have learned something.”

But since he missed Selma’s commemorative activities this year, he should learn from what’s happening right now in the state of Alabama. Voting discrimination in the United States isn’t a thing of the past, and a VRA – one with its full protections restored – is still desperately needed.

Senate Republican Leadership Used to Support Voting Rights. Not Anymore.

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Eight months ago at the beginning of the 114th Congress, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R. Iowa, announced the chairs, ranking members, and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittees. Two and a half months earlier, Republicans had taken control of the U.S. Senate, and now Grassley – the new chair of the committee – was reporting that Sen. John Cornyn, R. Texas, would be the chair of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights.

But Grassley’s announcement lacked five critical words: civil rights and human rights.

At the time, Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, called the deletion “a discouraging sign given the growing diversity of our nation and the complex civil and human rights challenges we face.”

She wasn’t wrong.

The 2014 midterm elections were the first in nearly 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) and, since taking control, Senate Republican leadership has taken no action to investigate modern-day voting discrimination – despite ample evidence that it persists.

Last month, a day before the VRA’s 50th anniversary, a federal court in Texas ruled that the state’s strict voter ID law discriminated against Black and Hispanic voters in violation of the VRA. That hasn’t moved Cornyn, the state’s senior senator and Senate Majority Whip, to call for a hearing on a bill to restore the law.

This is bizarre, especially since Cornyn voted in 2006 to reauthorize the VRA for 25 more years, including the portion struck down in 2013 when the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the law in Shelby County v. Holder. Speaking on the Senate floor on July 20, 2006, Cornyn said that he represents a state “that is covered by section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which is one of the sections that is being reauthorized today, hopefully.”

He even said that “the Voting Rights Act is simply the most important and most effective civil rights legislation ever passed,” though he did question whether the covered states in Section 5 were still the appropriate ones to cover. In any case, he recognized that – while the United States has advanced as a nation – modern-day voting discrimination was still a problem, and preclearance in some form was still necessary.

It was appropriate for Cornyn to believe in the Voting Rights Act. He now occupies the seat in the U.S. Senate once held by Lyndon B. Johnson, who first signed it into law.

When President Johnson signed the VRA, now-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R. Ky., then a law student at the University of Kentucky, was watching in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

Forty-one years later as a U.S. senator, McConnell spoke in favor of reauthorizing the VRA. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This a great piece of legislation which has served an important purpose over many years,” he said.

“The Voting Rights Act brought about greater justice for all,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “And while we celebrate that achievement, we must continue to strive for more.”

Grassley, at the time, agreed.

As he had done in 1982 when Ronald Reagan was president, Grassley also voted to reauthorize the VRA in 2006 under President George W. Bush. “I will repeat what I said on this floor 15 years ago: It’s is our duty to guarantee that all citizens have the same opportunity to participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice,” he said in 2006. “All of us here today recognize that it is our duty, as elected representatives of the people, as guardians of democracy, to protect the right to vote.”

Unfortunately, as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee today, Grassley has done nothing to protect that right.

“Changing the name of this subcommittee is a poor start,” Zirkin said back in January when Republicans dropped “civil rights and human rights” from the name of Cornyn’s subcommittee, “but the proof of the panel’s seriousness about addressing these issues will become apparent in its actual work.”

So far, what Zirkin and others feared when those five words were dropped may be coming true. There’s been no work at the committee level to examine voting discrimination and move voting rights forward. Far from a symbolic name change, the deletion may have removed any sign for Republican leadership that there’s still work to be done in the United States on civil and human rights. And that’s a shame.

Murkowski Cosponsors Bill to Restore Voting Rights Act

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Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R. Alaska, on Thursday announced her support for the Voting Rights Advancement Act, making her the first Republican in the Senate to cosponsor legislation to help restore the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision in 2013.

“Senator Murkowski’s decision to co-sponsor the Voting Rights Advancement Act sends a clear signal to Congress that, as history shows, both parties can work together to restore the VRA,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “We applaud Senator Murkowski for championing this effort and encourage her fellow Republicans in the House and Senate to join with her to restore the bipartisan Voting Rights Act.”

The Advancement Act, introduced in June by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D. Vt., and Rep. Terri Sewell, D. Ala., responds to the unique, modern-day challenges of voting discrimination that has evolved in the past 50 years since the VRA was first signed by President Johnson. The bill recognizes that changing demographics require tools that protect voters nationwide – especially voters of color, language minorities, people with disabilities, young people, and seniors. It also requires that jurisdictions make voting changes public and transparent. The bill currently has no Republican cosponsors in the House.

A bill Leahy introduced in January 2014, the Voting Rights Amendment Act, never garnered any Senate Republican support – though it was supported by 11 Republicans in the House, including Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R. Wisc., who introduced the bill and was instrumental in the VRA’s 2006 reauthorization. A version of the bill reintroduced this year currently has 12 Republican cosponsors.

Since Shelby, efforts to restore the VRA in the House have been blocked by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R. Va., who chairs the House Judiciary Committee. While Leahy held a hearing on voting rights in the Senate in 2014 when he chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee, Goodlatte hasn’t yet taken that step. Instead, he said as recently as June that restoring voter protections isn’t necessary.

Murkowski’s co-sponsorship comes just over a month after the VRA’s 50th anniversary, and almost six months to the day after Bloody Sunday’s 50th anniversary, when 100 lawmakers gathered in Selma, Ala., to commemorate the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march. Despite celebration of Selma’s foot soldiers, including a Congressional Gold Medal to honor them, Congress has not yet acted to restore the VRA.

95 Years After the 19th Amendment, Women’s Fight for Voting Rights Continues

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In 1971, the U.S. Congress designated August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day” to commemorate the 1920 passage of the 19th amendment – guaranteeing women the right to vote – and to honor the brave women and men who fought for women’s suffrage. Today, on the 95th anniversary of the 19th amendment, the right to vote seems unalienable and fundamental to any democracy – but nearly 100 years ago, many Americans didn’t think women should have that right.

The women’s suffrage movement spanned more than 70 years, and was carried out by tens of thousands of tireless advocates. To win the right to vote, generations of suffragists circulated petitions, gave speeches, and published newspapers, pamphlets and magazines. Despite seemingly insurmountable legal, financial, and political barriers, the movement became one of our country’s most successful civil rights efforts.

But today, nearly 100 years after women won their fundamental right to participate freely in their democracy, the right to vote is under attack. In 2013, the Supreme Court gutted key provisions of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder. In the two years since then, states across the country have passed laws making it harder to vote through the elimination of early voting and same-day registration opportunities and restrictive voter ID requirements. These laws have had a disproportionately harmful effect on low-income voters, communities of color, people with disabilities, students, and the elderly – all groups that are, of course, comprised in part by women.

And for women, strict voter ID laws can pose a fairly unique problem. In the aftermath of Shelby, Texas was free to enact one of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the nation – a law that a federal court struck down prior to Shelby in 2012, ruling that the law would potentially disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of minority voters. Because of the strict ID provision, when Texas judge Sandra Watts tried to vote using the same identification she had been using for the last 50 years, she was unable to do so. The problem? Watts’ driver’s license lists her maiden name as her middle name, but on the state voting rolls, her given middle name is there. For women in Texas, getting married, getting divorced, or making any other adjustment to your name can be a barrier to voting.

Unfortunately, Watts’ story isn’t an anomaly. People across the country have been effectively disenfranchised post-Shelby. Today, 95 years after the ratification of the 19th amendment, women are waging a new voting rights battle. In Texas, Imani Clark, a student at Prairie View A&M University, is fighting the state’s restrictive ID law. In North Carolina, Rosanell Eaton – who was one of the first Black residents in her segregated county to vote in 1939 – is fighting North Carolina’s new voter restrictions that could jeopardize the right to vote for too many in 2016.

Why We’re Challenging House Republican Leadership to Act on Voting Rights

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Almost five months to the day after Speaker of the House John Boehner issued a statement to mark the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the Ohio congressman’s website and Twitter feed on August 6 – the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act – was noticeably silent on issues of voting.

“Guided by their determination, inspired by their courage, and moved by their call for justice,” Boehner said of the Selma marchers, “let us honor their sacrifice by rededicating ourselves to the cause of freedom and equal opportunity for every American.”

That was on March 7. Three days earlier, Boehner signed a measure awarding a Congressional Gold Medal to Selma’s foot soldiers, saying, “Long may we retrace their journey. Long may we remember their struggle. Long may they remain an example.”

On voting rights issues, though, Boehner and other members of House Republican leadership aren’t living up to the examples set 50 years ago. Despite evidence of widespread voter discrimination, and despite the introduction of two bills in the House that would help to restore portions of the VRA gutted in Shelby County v. Holder, there has been no movement to even examine the issue at the committee level.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, whose comments on modern-day voting discrimination (namely, that it doesn’t exist) have become a broken record in the two years since Shelby, is blocking that examination – in the form of a hearing. Less than two months ago, just three days before the second Shelby anniversary, Goodlatte said that we still have a “strong” Voting Rights Act. “We are certainly willing to look at any new evidence of discrimination if there is a need to take any measures,” he said in an interview. “But at this point in time, we have not seen that, and therefore no changes have been made since the Supreme Court decision.”

Civil rights advocates have taken issue with that constant, myopic response. In separate letters to Boehner and Goodlatte on the VRA’s anniversary, Wade Henderson and Nancy Zirkin of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights expressed their “profound disappointment” in the leaders’ inaction, which they call an “abdication of [their] responsibility to the Congress and to the nation.” Pointing to examples in Ohio and Virginia – Boehner’s and Goodlatte’s home states, respectively – and other modern cases in North Carolina and Texas, the letters illustrate that, despite claims that voting discrimination is a thing of the past, voters across the country are being disenfranchised.

But there’s another member of House Republican leadership that should be encouraging efforts to restore the VRA: Majority Whip Steve Scalise. After Scalise acknowledged in late December 2014 that he had given a speech in 2002 to a white supremacist, anti-Semitic, and neo-Nazi organization, Henderson and Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, wrote to Scalise, met with him, and then wrote to him again urging him to take action on issues of race and to help move forward efforts to protect voters.

Scalise has taken no action. “We explained the need for action, and you offered to help,” wrote Henderson and Morial in their third letter to him on August 6. “That offer has rung hollow. As part of House Leadership, you have a responsibility to serve not only the constituents in your district, but also the broader national constituency.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has at least signaled an interest in holding a House hearing on voting rights, saying, “an overall review, I think, it’s the right time to do it.” And McCarthy, too, at least traveled to Selma this year to commemorate Bloody Sunday in person, not simply with a statement. Boehner, Goodlatte, and Scalise have refused to do anything at all.

Given a recent Fifth Circuit Court decision saying that Texas’s voter ID law – which was blocked by the VRA’s now inoperable preclearance provision prior to Shelby but implemented after the decision and enforced during last November’s election, disenfranchising as many as 600,000 voters – is a violation of the VRA because it discriminates against Black and Hispanic voters, the existence of racial discrimination in voting is no longer negotiable. Across the country, eligible voters are being denied access to the ballot, and it’s time for House leadership to finally acknowledge it and take action.

McCarthy Could be Key to Restoring the VRA

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When then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary race last June just two weeks before the first anniversary of Shelby County v. Holder, his defeat appeared to remove the only member of Republican leadership who supported a path forward on restoring the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

Seven weeks later, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R. Calif., took over the Majority Leader post, and voting rights advocates wondered: Where does he stand on voting rights?

As Leslie Proll, director of NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s Washington, D.C. office, pointed out, though McCarthy wasn’t in Congress in 2006 when the VRA was overwhelmingly reauthorized, he co-chaired Congress’s civil rights pilgrimage to Alabama in 2012 to honor the 47th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. Now McCarthy had a chance, as Proll put it, to “show that his visit to Selma was more than just a photo op.”

And though McCarthy hasn’t cosponsored any legislation to fix the law that was gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013 in Shelby County v. Holder, two weeks ago he said publically that any voting rights restoration bill would have to start in the Judiciary Committee – and that now is the time for that to happen. “On a personal level, I’d like to see the debate go forward,” McCarthy said. “I’d like to see [us] have the debate in committee. I think everything, when it’s first written and where the world is today, has changed. So just as most of our bills, how do you modernize?”

“An overall review, I think, it’s the right time to do it.”

But the chairman of that committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R. Va., said earlier this year that it’s not necessary to restore the law – a position he’s maintained since Shelby.

As the nation commemorates the VRA’s 50th anniversary this week, McCarthy must make the case to Goodlatte that holding a hearing in his committee is the right thing to do. It’s the logical way for Congress to explore modern cases of racial discrimination in voting, but it’s also an appropriate method of honoring those who marched 50 years ago.

And McCarthy has been – symbolically, at least – honoring them. He again made the trip to Selma this March to mark the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday (as he tweeted about here and here), and he also delivered a speech on the House floor a month earlier when Congress was considering a measure to award Congressional Gold Medals to Selma’s foot soldiers.

“We are gathered today in honor of those civil rights activists who suffered violence while standing for peace,” McCarthy said at the end of his speech. “We honor them for holding our nation to the highest ideals, ensuring the true existence of liberty and justice for all, and making this country keep to its promise that all men and women are created equal.”

If McCarthy wants to move beyond the symbolism and actually honor those marchers, he should strongly encourage Goodlatte to finally hold a hearing on voting rights – because 50 years after the VRA was signed into law, racial discrimination in voting isn’t over. And without a law to restore it, it’s only going to keep getting worse.

Americans across the Country Call on Congress to Restore the VRA in 50th Anniversary Month

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August 4, 2015
Contact: Scott Simpson, 202.466.2061,

WASHINGTON On the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, concerned citizens all over the country are calling on Congress to restore the crucial protections of the VRA that were lost in the Supreme Court’s destructive Shelby County v. Holder decision to gut the landmark civil rights law. Advocates are participating in voting rights events in every region of the U.S.

In the two years since the Shelby decision, nearly half of the 50 states have enacted policies that make it harder to vote. A surge of discriminatory voter ID requirements and laws eliminating early voting opportunities have deprived Americans of their fundamental right, and have had an especially harmful effect on people of color, low-income communities, people with disabilities, and students.

Despite public outcry and widespread evidence of voter discrimination, Congress has shirked from its constitutional obligation to protect the right to vote. Unless Congress acts, voters in 2016 will face the first presidential election in half a century where they lack crucial protections in federal law to combat racial discrimination in voting. Congress now has two bills—the Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Voting Rights Amendment Act—to use as vehicles to restore the VRA. Congress has no excuses for failing to act.

Quote from Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights:

“Fifty years ago, Congress made history and came together across party lines to enact our nation’s most effective civil rights law. From California to Georgia, Alabama to New York, Americans are demanding that Congress protect their right to vote. As we commemorate the VRA and honor those who fought so hard for it, we also lament that Americans have the weakest voting protections than at any time in the last 50 years. When Congress returns to Washington this fall, its first order of business must be to restore the VRA.”

Editorial Memo: On 50th Anniversary of the VRA, Congress Must Protect the Right to Vote

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Dear Editors,

This Thursday, August 6, will mark 50 years since our nation’s most effective civil rights law was signed into law. For most of that time, the Voting Rights Act helped ensure that every eligible citizen, regardless of race, had the opportunity to freely participate in elections and have a voice in our great democracy. However, on this historic anniversary, the fundamental right to vote is in more danger than at any time in the last half century due to the Supreme Court’s destructive Shelby County v. Holder decision in 2013 to gut the law.

This week, civil rights and voting rights groups are hosting events all across the country commemorating the 50th anniversary of the VRA and calling on Congress to restore the law’s crucial protections. On August 6, members of Congress from both parties will publicly honor the law and the brave Americans who fought for it, but many of them have done nothing to restore it.

We encourage you to write about the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act to highlight the need for lawmakers to act in a bipartisan fashion on legislation to restore the protections of the VRA, and to hold those who ignore this need accountable for their willful indifference to modern day voting discrimination.

About the Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, Congress made history when it came together across party lines to ensure the right to vote for every American. Inspired by the courage of the Selma marchers, Congress worked quickly to pass the VRA. The work to protect Americans from voter discrimination has been bipartisan for the last 50 years. Every reauthorization of the VRA was passed with overwhelming bipartisan majorities, and signed into law by presidents like Ronald Regan, and, most recently, George W. Bush in 2006.

The Unraveling of the VRA Legacy in the Aftermath of Shelby v. Holder

Since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed it into law on August 6, 1965, the VRA has been an indispensable tool for combating voter discrimination, and a fitting tribute to the courageous Selma marchers. The VRA honored the dignity of the brave Americans who risked and gave their lives to secure the right to vote. For the first time, millions of minority voters were able to exercise their constitutional right to participate in elections.

The law ended literacy tests, poll taxes, and other intentionally discriminatory mechanisms. In the 21st century, the VRA has been used to combat modern voting discrimination in the form of inequitable redistricting plans, restrictive voter ID laws, artificial barriers to voting, elimination of early voting opportunities, and unfair polling place changes.

But the civil rights legacy of the VRA and the Selma heroes has been unraveled by the voting discrimination that has flourished since the Supreme Court gutted the VRA in 2013. In the two years since the Shelby decision, voter discrimination has run rampant throughout the country, casting a dark shadow over the democracy on which our nation so prides itself—and to which other countries look to as an example. As soon as the Shelby decision was handed down, states and localities rushed to push through discriminatory laws that make it harder to vote. Voter ID laws and the elimination of early voting opportunities have been enacted all over the country and have had an especially harmful effect on people of color, low-income communities, people with disabilities and students. On the 50th anniversary of a law that was designed to expand and protect access to the ballot, nearly half of our 50 states have enacted policies restricting it.

Congress Must Act Now to Restore the VRA

Despite public outcry and widespread evidence of voter discrimination, Congress has failed to restore the protections of the VRA. For two years, members of Congress have dragged their feet on this issue and shirked from their constitutional obligation to protect the cornerstone of our democracy. If Congress doesn’t act soon, voters in 2016 will face the first presidential election in 50 years without crucial protections in federal law to combat voter discrimination.

Congress now has two bills—the Voting Rights Amendment Act and the Voting Rights Advancement Act—to use to restore the VRA. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., recently said that it is time for an “overall review” of the issue, and that he would like to see debate on voting rights legislation go forward. However, many of his Republican colleagues—including House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.—have failed to even acknowledge the reality of voter discrimination and the need for a restored VRA.

Every lawmaker should make restoring the VRA a priority, especially those who publicly pays tribute to the law and the Selma marchers this Thursday. Congress must work to restore the law upon returning to Washington. Failing to do so betrays the legacy of the Selma marchers, the American people, and our democracy.
We encourage you to write or editorialize about this issue. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Scott Simpson for more information at 202.466.2061 or

Hundreds Gather in Roanoke for Voting Rights and Democracy

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On June 25, hundreds of concerned citizens rallied in Roanoke, Va., to mark the second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Shelby v. Holder decision to gut the Voting Rights Act. At the rally, advocates from more than 25 civil rights and voting rights organizations urged Congress to restore the voting protections lost in Shelby.


Attendees put pressure on Roanoke’s longtime Congressman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R. Va., Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, to hold a hearing on legislation to restore the VRA. Goodlatte was a vocal supporter of the VRA when it was last reauthorized in 2006, but now says that voter discrimination doesn’t exist and a restored VRA isn’t needed.

Participating organizations published numerous op-eds and statements in the lead-up to the rally:

Local and national media coverage of the rally:

This Texas Voter’s Story Will Convince You it’s Time to #RestoreTheVRA

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The day before the second anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s destructive Shelby County v. Holder decision – and on the day lawmakers introduced a new bill to fix it – the Campaign Legal Center released a short, three-minute film highlighting how one state in particular is restricting access to the ballot box.

The film features Tony, an engineer who came to Texas to attend the University of Houston. Tony changed his last name in 1964 after his parents were married and has voted in every election he’s been able to, but with Texas’s new restrictive voting law, he’s barred from voting because he can’t prove his identity.

In the film, Abbie Kamin, a lawyer with the Campaign Legal Center, tells Tony, “As the law stands now, based on your circumstances, you may not ever be able to vote.”

“This is about the state of Texas using taxpayer dollars to implement the most restrictive photo ID law in the country that is intentionally used to suppress minority and low-income voters,” Kamin says.

In a statement, Gerry Hebert, executive director of Campaign Legal Center, said, “Tony’s deeply troubling story puts a very human face on the impact of a heartless law that disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of Texans, and intentionally and disproportionately stripped the right to vote from minority voters.”

Tony feels that heartlessness very strongly.

“I’m living in a country that doesn’t want me, and that is an awful feeling. So it goes beyond a simple 2014 election,” Tony says. “It’s a deep-seated thing. It’s feeling like you’re in a place physically, but they don’t want you to be part of it.”

Watch his story here: