(Washington, D.C.) — Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) introduced the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, transformative legislation that will restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act and help an untold number of voters of color access the fundamental right to vote.
The following are statements from experts at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:
Damon Hewitt, president and executive director: “Since the Supreme Court gutted the heart of the Voting Rights Act with its Shelby County v. Holder decision in 2013, partisan state legislatures have relentlessly targeted communities of color with discriminatory attacks on the fundamental right to vote. As the nation has seen, this year those efforts have gone into overdrive. While these attacks may not seem as overtly discriminatory as poll taxes and literacy tests, their objective is still the same – to strip Black communities and other communities of color from having a voice in our democracy. A strong Voting Rights Act helps everyone access the ballot box and ensures our democracy represents the will of all Americans. Congress has a mandate to address this issue and is well within its authority to do so. We urge swift passage in the U.S. House of Representatives and then in the Senate.”
Kadeem Cooper, policy counsel: “For the past several months, the House of Representatives has been diligently examining the current record of discrimination in voting and the provisions in the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act will address the voting discrimination that has been ongoing since the Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court decision. As state legislatures have moved with unprecedented speed and force to roll back voting rights and erect unconscionable barriers to the ballot box for voters of color, we need a strong Voting Rights Act to combat these abhorrent actions and prevent future ones. The time to act is now, and Congress must move quickly.”
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of voting rights, criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and hate crimes. For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommittee.org.