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Shaheen & Hassan Introduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act with Group of 47 Lawmakers

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined 47 other Senators, led by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), in introducing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The bill would restore the landmark Voting Rights Act (VRA) and stop the scourge of voter suppression.  The legislation is named for an icon of the Civil Rights movement, the late Congressman John Lewis, and reflects an update to legislation introduced in the last Congress. 

“As our nation experiences widespread attacks on voting rights, passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act has never been more urgent. Every eligible voter should have access to the ballot box to exercise their Constitutional right and civic duty, free from discrimination or intimidation,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’m glad to work with this group of lawmakers to introduce this legislation, which honors John Lewis for his lifelong dedication to protecting and strengthening civil liberties and voting rights. Participating in elections is the underpinning of our democracy and we must safeguard those rights in every way that we can. The Senate should immediately take this legislation up for a vote.” 

“We have seen a flood of restrictive voting rights bills in state legislatures all across the country. These discriminatory bills undermine the very bedrock of our democracy and fly in the face of our American values. At the same time, we’ve seen the Supreme Court fail to protect the Voting Rights Act – this is a critical moment for our democracy and Congress needs to take swift action to strengthen our democracy and uphold the fundamental right to vote,” said Senator Hassan

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s damaging Shelby County decision in 2013 – which crippled the federal government’s ability under the 1965 Voting Rights Act to prevent discriminatory changes to voting laws and procedures – states across the country have unleashed a torrent of voter suppression schemes that have systematically disenfranchised tens of thousands of American voters.  The Supreme Court’s more recent Brnovich decision earlier this year delivered yet another body blow to the Voting Rights Act, by making it significantly harder for plaintiffs to win lawsuits under the landmark law against discriminatory voting laws or procedures.  Shaheen and Hassan are also supporters of the For the People Act, which would help get billionaires out of politics and guarantee every American citizen full access to the ballot by addressing voter intimidation and suppression.  

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is endorsed by the following leading civil rights organizations: Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), the Brennan Center for Justice and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. 

The full text of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act can be found here. 

A section-by-section analysis of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act can be found here