The House on Tuesday passed the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, a measure aiming to increase the power of the federal government and minorities to stop or challenge discriminatory election rules.
Hundreds of voter suppression laws have emerged in Republican-led states such as Texas, Georgia and Arizona, and Democrats have desperately sought solutions.
The legislation gets its name from the late John Lewis, the revered Georgia congressman who died in 2020.
“The passage of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in the House of Representatives brings us one step closer in our struggle to secure and protect voting rights for every eligible American,” said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). “As attacks on our voting rights continue with 18 states enacting voter suppression laws and over 40 states considering hundreds more voter suppression bills, the very foundation of our democracy continues to crack and is in desperate need of rescuing.”
If passed in the Senate, the bill would restore parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that allowed the Justice Department to block certain jurisdictions with a history of voter discrimination from changing their voting rules.
In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled outdated a portion of Shelby v. Holder. As a result, the court limited the ability of minorities to challenge discriminatory state laws.
Democrats in the Senate need all of the party’s 50 votes and at least 10 Republicans to support the measure. Reportedly, the only Republican senator supporting the legislation is Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski.
Some Democrats have called on members to eliminate the filibuster or incorporate rules to weaken the process and enable passage of voting rights acts like the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the For the People Act.
“Since Democrats gained control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, Republican-controlled state legislatures across the nation have engaged in the most coordinated effort to restrict the right to vote in generations with hundreds of anti-voter bills,” said Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.). “This blatant attempt at a power grab threatens our most precious right and the ability of voters to choose the elected officials who they believe have their interests at heart.”
Waters added that the 15th Amendment of the United States Constitution says, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act “gets us closer to living up to this mandate,” the congresswoman insisted.
“Make no mistake – our democracy is in danger, and the House of Representatives has done its part to protect it,” Waters said. “It is time for the Senate to be bold and take whatever action necessary, including putting an end to the filibuster, to protect the right to vote for every American.”

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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