Protections of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act Needed Now More than Ever

Statement of Common Cause President Virginia Kase Solomó

The federal protections of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act are critically important for Congress to pass at a moment in our history when the freedom to vote is under attack in our nation. A bedrock of our democracy, the freedom to vote has been under sustained assault since the 2020 election with dozens of anti-voter laws passed in states all across the country to make it harder for Americans – particularly in Black and brown communities – to have a say in choosing their elected leaders.

The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, introduced today in the United States Senate, will repair much of the damage done to the Voting Rights Act by the Supreme Court in recent years. In conjunction with the Freedom to Vote Act, this legislation will curb the coordinated effort by Republican state legislatures across the country to silence Black and brown voters who showed up in record numbers in recent elections.

Curbing similar abuses during the Jim Crow era, required passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and rigorous enforcement by the U.S. Department of Justice. Today, we have again reached a junction requiring federal legislation to protect the voting rights of every American.

We commend Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) for introducing this critical legislation and we urge both the Senate and the House to pass it swiftly. The attacks on the freedom to vote must be countered and brought to an end through passage of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.

Only a filibuster stopped this legislation from becoming law during the last Congress and it is important to note that a number of current Senate Republicans voted for the Voting Rights Act reauthorization when it passed the Senate 98-0 in 2006.