House Passes and Senate Must Follow in Passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to Protect Every American’s Freedom to Vote

Statement of Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause President

The House took a critically important step today toward protecting the freedom of every American to vote by passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The Senate must follow suit and pass this legislation to repair and strengthen the landmark Voting Rights Act which played a key role in beating back the racist and discriminatory Jim Crow laws . New discriminatory voting laws, designed to strip Black and Brown communities of political clout by making it harder for them to vote, are once again being passed after the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013. This year, 18 states have already enacted 30 restrictive voting bills that make it harder for Americans to have a say in choosing our elected leaders.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, in conjunction with the For the People Act, will brunt the coordinated effort by Republican state legislatures across the country to silence Black and Brown voters who showed up in record numbers in the 2020 elections. Just as it took the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to break the original Jim Crow laws, it will take these bills to roll back the New Jim Crow era.

Senators must prepare to pass these pieces of legislation when they return to Washington. Ten current Republican Senators voted for the Voting Rights Act reauthorization when it passed the Senate 98-0 in 2006 only one week after the House passed it. If 10 Senate Republicans will not support this bill, then Senate Democrats must reform the filibuster. Every American deserves the freedom to vote and that freedom must be protected by our elected leaders. Now is the time they must do so by passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the For the People Act.