Senator Alex PadillaSACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — California State Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) and President of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) released the following statement today regarding the United States Supreme Court’s decision striking down sections of the Voting Rights Act:

“Today’s Supreme Court decision is a disappointment and a major setback for civil rights in our country. The Voting Rights Act (VRA) has been an important tool for four decades to protect voting rights from California to Virginia and Alaska to Texas. Instead of throwing it away, we need to modernize it.

“Unfortunately voting rights continue to be attacked today. These attacks might not be literacy tests and poll taxes, but voter identification laws and elimination of early voting have the same effect of undermining the right to vote. According to the Brennan Center, since 2011 alone, 180 bills to restrict voting rights have been introduced in 41 states.

“In California we have taken it upon ourselves to expand access and opportunities to voting that include full implementation of the National Voter Registration Act (Motor Voter), same day and online voter registration, consistent early voting opportunities, some of the shortest lines at polling stations in the nation, and requiring the new Health Benefit Exchange to register voters.

“I call on Congress and the President to take action to modernize the Voting Rights Act as soon as possible so that the Federal government can continue to fight discriminatory voting laws and protect our citizens’ fundamental constitutional rights.”

Senator Alex Padilla, 40, graduated from MIT with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He currently serves on the Board of MIT and is President of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. He is Chair of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee and represents the more than 1,100,000 residents of the 20th State Senate District in Los Angeles. For more information about Senator Padilla visit his website or follow him on Facebook.