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Press Statement November 21, 2023

NAACP Condemns Federal Court's Ruling on Voting Rights Act Enforcement

Looking Up at Marble Columns on Courthouse


November 21, 2023

Contact: Alicia Mercedes,

WASHINGTON – The nation's preeminent civil rights organization, the NAACP, released a statement following the ruling by a federal appeals court on Monday. The court's decision stated that only the U.S. government, and not external groups or citizens, possesses the right to sue for the enforcement of the provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

Janette McCarthy-Wallace, NAACP Office of General Counsel, shared her reaction to the ruling:

"This ruling is a setback for democracy and a clear attack on civil rights in America. The NAACP firmly believes that the Voting Rights Act is a cornerstone of democracy, and as we look ahead to the 2024 election cycle, it is as important now more than ever that our democracy and the rights of American citizens be protected. By restricting the avenues through which the Voting Rights Act can be enforced, the court has undermined the collaborative efforts of civil rights organizations and countless community advocates who strive to uphold the fundamental right to vote for all citizens."

The Voting Rights Act, a pivotal civil rights law designed to eliminate racial discrimination in the voting process, has historically relied on the tireless efforts of outside organizations and concerned citizens to ensure its enforcement. The court's decision to exclude civil rights groups and American citizens from enforcing the Voting Rights Act poses a serious threat to the protection of civil rights and the integrity of our democratic processes.

The NAACP remains committed to defending voting rights in America and advocating against any measures that seek to undermine the progress we've made in the ongoing fight for equality. Immediate action must be taken to rectify this misguided decision, ensuring that the enforcement of the Voting Rights Act remains a shared responsibility among government entities, advocacy groups, and concerned citizens.

For more information on our voting rights advocacy, visit our website.



The NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for the civil rights due to Black America. Our legacy is built on the foundation of grassroots activism by the biggest civil rights pioneers of the 20th century and is sustained by 21st century activists. From classrooms and courtrooms to city halls and Congress, our network of members across the country works to secure the social and political power that will end race-based discrimination. That work is rooted in racial equity, civic engagement, and supportive policies and institutions for all marginalized people. We are committed to a world without racism where Black people enjoy equitable opportunities in thriving communities.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF - was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but now operates as a completely separate entity.