Photo: ACLU of Texas
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, the U.S. House Judiciary hosted a hearing on H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA), discussing the need to restore federal oversight of elections in the wake of a new wave of voter suppression sweeping the nation.
The hearing comes amidst the push by 49 states to pass legislation making it harder to vote, especially for Black and Brown communities. Passage of the VRAA would allow the federal government to block the implementation of voter suppression legislation in states with a history of racial discrimination in voting. Advancement Project National Office, a 21st century racial justice organization released the following statement.
“There can be no doubt that after the historic turnout of Black and Brown voters during the 2020 elections, a handful of elected leaders across the country have scrambled to devise new policies, administrative practices, and mechanisms to disenfranchise communities of color,” said Judith Browne Dianis, executive director of Advancement Project National Office. “With voting rights under attack, it’s imperative that Congress takes bold and swift action to protect and restore our voting rights by passing H.R. 4. The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is a critical first step in building a more inclusive and accessible voting process by restoring the tool of federal preclearance, a provision of the VRA that requires states with a history of racial discrimination to have any changes to their election administration ‘precleared’ with the federal government. This provision effectively blocked voter suppression measures before they harmed communities of color.
“We must continue to demand equitable access to the ballot box for all Americans. With recent Census data confirming that our nation is becoming more diverse, we cannot allow anti-voter state legislators to attack burgeoning communities of color to maintain their grip on power,” continued Dianis. “It is critical that both the House and the Senate swiftly pass H.R. 4 to level the playing field for voters and ensure no voter is targeted or disenfranchised because of the color of their skin or where they live. We especially need the Senate to act boldly and courageously to pass both the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the For the People Act swiftly, even if it means abolishing the filibuster.
“Voting rights advocates like Advancement Project National Office will continue to fight alongside our grassroots partners to protect Black and Brown voters. After helping voters successfully navigate the process of voting during a global health pandemic, rest assured, we will not stop working to help communities of color build power until all voters can cast a ballot in free, fair and safe elections.”