MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama U.S. Representative Terri A. Sewell re-introduced the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The bill was first introduced in 2020 by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy with 47 different cosponsors.
If the act passes both houses of Congress and gains the presidential signature, it would restore Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, allowing the Department of Justice to oversee and approve any and all voting changes in state jurisdictions.
Margaret Huang, president and CEO of SPLC, released the following statement regarding the act’s reintroduction:
“Through our collaborative, intersectional work with community partners around the Deep South, we have witnessed first-hand continued efforts to suppress the vote and undermine the democratic process particularly for communities of colorsince the Shelby County v. Holder decision in 2013. For generations after 1965, legislators of both parties and Americans across all ideologies have supported the Voting Rights Act because they understand that for our democracy to be healthy, every voter in the country must have safe, easy, and equitable access to their fundamental right to vote. Facing Supreme Court decisions that have significantly weakened the landmark law, and a proliferation of state anti-voter laws – particularly in the South – Congress must act to restore the Voting Rights Act to its full vigor and promise.
“With the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in place, the federal government will again act as a barrier to prevent racially discriminatory voting changes before they can harm voters in jurisdictions with records of present discrimination in voting – like Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi – and finally create a democracy that works for us all no matter where we live. Congress should utilize every legislative tool in its capacity to get this done; democracy is too important to be subject to a minority veto.”
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