WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and 45 of their Senate colleagues in introducing the bipartisan John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, a bill to restore the landmark Voting Rights Act, end the scourge of minority voter suppression, and help preserve the legacy of John Lewis – one of America’s greatest civil rights heroes.
In 2013, the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision gutted critical voter protections within the Voting Rights Act, crippling the federal government’s ability to prevent discriminatory changes to state voting laws and procedures. In the wake of Shelby County, states across the country unleashed a torrent of voter suppression schemes that have systematically disenfranchised minority voters. These patently discriminatory efforts to restrict access to the ballot box undermine the progress and equality that John Lewis fought hard over the decades to achieve, from his time as a civil rights movement leader to his tenure in Congress. The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would restore and modernize the Voting Rights Act, as well as provide the federal government with other critical tools to combat what has become a full-fledged assault on Americans’ right to vote.
“John Lewis challenged us to strive for a more perfect union, one that honored and respected the dignity of every human in this country. It is our turn to carry on what he started,” said Durbin. “We must do right by John Lewis’ legacy and ensure that every American is able to express their voice in this great democracy and vote. The Senate should immediately take up and pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore the Voting Rights Act that Lewis shed blood for and root out pernicious voter suppression efforts that continue to target communities of color.”
“John Lewis was a hero who nearly laid down his life on the Edmund Pettus bridge for the right of every American—regardless of their skin color—to vote,” Duckworth said. “I’m proud to join Senator Leahy and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in introducing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would honor his life by helping combat voter suppression tactics that were designed to make it harder for people of color to vote. I call on Leader McConnell to stop blocking this bipartisan legislation and bring it to the floor immediately.
Along with Durbin, Duckworth, and Leahy, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is sponsored by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Doug Jones (D-AL), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ed Markey (D-MA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Patty Murray (D-WA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Angus King (I-ME), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Mark Warner (D-VA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tom Carper (D-DE), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Tom Udall (D-NM), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Jon Tester (D-MT), Gary Peters (D-MI), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Joe Manchin (D-WV).
The full text of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act can be found here.
A summary of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act can be found here.