Back from recess, the House of Representatives voted to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The bill passed 219-212, with no Republicans crossing over to support voting rights.
First introduced in 2019, the bill was renamed for John Lewis shortly after his passing. The earlier version of the bill passed in December 2019 wiht a vote of 228-187 with one Republican voting with Democrats.
The law took on renewed Importance post-2020 election, with false claims of non-existent voter fraud and other unfounded claims spurring hundreds of voter suppression laws being introduced across the country. Introduced in Congress as H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is considered a part of a package of democracy reforms being promoted by advocates.
Along with D.C. statehood and H.R. 1/S.1 – the For the People Act, the John Lewis bill would strengthen access to Democracy and provide space for true multiracial equity in practice. “Creating a just, equitable multiracial democracy requires actively working to ensure all Americans can vote,” read a statement from the progressive think tank Dēmos. “In addition to the For the People Act and D.C statehood, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is a critical democracy reform bill that will move us toward that ideal. The Senate must now do what it takes to take up and pass this critical bill.”
Introduced by Rep. Terri Sewell, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act was tweaked to include provisions that would address the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee as well as the damage done by Shelby v. Holder. In a letter ahead of the House vote, the Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights outlined the clear need for H.R. 4 – The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
Highlighting instances of “current discrimination,” the Leadership Council said Congress needed to update the preclearance formula and adopt several amendments to ensure full participation to the political process for everyone.
“The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act fills a distinct and critical role in protecting the freedom to vote and ensuring elections are safe and accessible,” reads the letter. “When it comes to our elections, we all want an open and transparent process we can trust, where Americans have equal freedom to vote, whether we live in a small town or big city, or the coasts or the Midwest.”
Fifteen years ago, the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act had broad bipartisan support. The bill passed 390-33 in the House and a unanimous 98-0 in the Senate. Things have changed with the bill narrowly passing the House along party lines.
“Restoring preclearance and strengthening Section 2 of the original Voting Rights Act would undo much of the damage from the Brnovich and the Shelby County rulings,” read an analysis from the Brennan Center.
The filibuster poses the same challenge to the VRAA in the Senate as the For the People Act. To truly protect voting rights and American democracy, advocates maintain that Congress must pass both bills. Calls to pass voting rights legislation and abolish the filibuster have broad support outside of Congress.
Voting rights advocates and concerned citizens have been holding regular actions in the District of Columbia, with many making regular calls to the members of Congress to support voting rights legislation.
But this Saturday, August 28, there will be major actions happening in the District of Columbia and major cities across the country. Groups will be gathering for the Make Good Trouble Rally and the March On For Voting Rights, both taking place on the anniversary of the 1963 March On Washington.
“While the fight to protect voting rights remains a priority for us, we recognize that there are many factors at play today that impact each other,” said Cliff Albright, co-founder and executive director of Black Voters Matter, in a statement. “The social, economic, and political challenges that we face all intersect, and those most gravely impacted are far too often Black people and other communities of color. But as we know through our work, there is power in solidarity. It is in that spirit that we come together to rally around these issues because no one will fight for our people like we will.”
'This Is A Crisis': Folks Share Georgia Voting Catastrophes Through Videos And Photos
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“This is ridiculous,” says Anita Heard, a 80-year-old who was first in line to vote at 6 this morning and is still waiting to cast her ballot. “Of course,” she says when I ask her if she plans to stay. “I worked for 40 years — where else am I going?” #gapol pic.twitter.com/4Cd8nwagG9— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) June 9, 2020
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Once again my neighbors in #SWATL are experiencing #VoterSuppression. Polls were supposed to open an hour ago and we are not being admitted. Apparently we don’t have the paper needed for these new voting machines. #votingday #atlanta pic.twitter.com/R0gPxqMaSM— Alyssa Thys (@alyssa_thys) June 9, 2020
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Huge downpour just now. And at this Fulton Co. polling location - it seems nobody left the line.— Blayne Alexander (@ReporterBlayne) June 9, 2020
Many have been waiting for 2+hours. When I asked how they’re feeling, one woman told me simply: “determined.” #GAPrimary pic.twitter.com/AOpvvuE97h
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People are waiting more than three hours to cast ballots in Atlanta. Look at this line 😳 pic.twitter.com/3IbVO6WiGO— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) June 9, 2020
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The is the line to vote at just ONE precinct in Atlanta right now.— Read Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire (@JoshuaPotash) June 9, 2020
We need to push back now against having yet another election stolen.pic.twitter.com/NCfXxC7S43
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Massive lines, voting machine problems at precincts across metro Atlanta on this primary day. Some voters here at Park Tavern precinct in Altanta have been waiting three hours. pic.twitter.com/ngXvUnKbA1— Tom Regan (@tomreganWSB) June 9, 2020
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All 12 machines in almost all white Milton are working perfectly. There we're even two voting machine techs there to make sure. No lines, and almost no voters at— audiomagnate🔊 (@audiomagnate) June 9, 2020
Milton Branch Library
855 Mayfield Road
Milton, GA 30009#VoterSuppression#GeorgiaVoterSuppression pic.twitter.com/k3de1lOVV8
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I’m sorry but I need #GAVoterSuppression to go viral. Once again, my location Cross Keys High School, is down. People have been waiting since 7am. Machines down and no provisional ballots on site. #BLMprotest #BLM #BlackLivesMatter #VoterSuppression pic.twitter.com/DB9fLd3YbQ— De Popuweh Pin🇧🇧 (@TheHonorRebel) June 9, 2020
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The House Passed A Voting Rights Bill Honoring John Lewis. The Senate Needs To Take Action. was originally published on newsone.com