John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act Will Protect Every American’s Freedom to Vote

Statement of Sylvia Albert, Common Cause Director of Voting & Elections

Americans expect and deserve free and fair elections. The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act will protect the freedom to vote of every American at a time when voting rights are once again under attack in many parts of our nation. The legislation, reintroduced today in the House of Representatives, will repair much of the damage done to the Voting Rights Act a decade ago by the Supreme Court in its Shelby County v. Holder decision and subsequent rulings.

This legislation will curb the coordinated effort by Republican state legislatures across the country to silence Black and brown voters after they showed up to vote in record numbers during the 2020 election. This ongoing effort to suppress the vote harkens back to the shameful Jim Crow era. At that time, it took the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and rigorous enforcement by the U.S. Department of Justice to curb the wholesale abuses and attacks on the freedom to vote.

Today it will take passage of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to curb this new generation of assaults on the freedom to vote and to strengthen the ability of the Department of Justice to protect that sacred freedom with the tools it used for decades.

We commend Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL), Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and the rest of House Democratic leadership team for introducing this critical legislation to safeguard the voting rights of every American. We urge both the House and Senate to pass it swiftly so that it can be signed into law by President Biden.