Today, LDF Redistricting Counsel Michael Pernick testified before the Michigan State Senate in support of the Michigan Voting Rights Act (“MIVRA” or SB 401, 402, 403, and 404). The testimony describes the urgent need for strong voting rights protections in Michigan due to ongoing obstacles to equitable participation by voters of color and shortcomings in current legal protections; and detail the specific ways that the MIVRA addresses these concerns. Black voters and other voters of color continue to suffer from the effects of discrimination and ongoing structures and practices—often at the local level—that perpetuate Michigan’s legacy of racial discrimination in voting.

Equitable voting rights protections, like those in the federal VRA and state level voting rights acts like the MIVRA, have had powerful effects in making the democratic process fairer, more equal, and more inclusive. These effects include reducing racial turnout disparities, making government more responsive to the needs of legislative priorities of communities of color, and increasing diversity in government office, so that elected representatives more fully reflect the communities they serve.

Read the written testimony here.

Learn more about the MIVRA here.