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(Washington, D.C.) — The U.S. Senate held a procedural vote on Wednesday to consider the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.  Although all 50 Democrats in the Senate voted in favor, joined by Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican Senate Leadership blocked the Act from advancing as it did not receive the necessary 60 votes to proceed. On Tuesday, Sens. Durbin, Leahy, Murkowski, and Manchin announced a bipartisan compromise on the JLVRAA.

The following is a statement from Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:

“The failure to advance the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is a failure for our democracy. If the Senate cannot advance a bipartisan version of the bill, it should end the filibuster or at the very least create a carve-out for critical voting rights legislation. After the 2020 elections, in states across the country, we’ve witnessed lawmakers strategically target the ways people of color vote to silence our voice, power, and right to choose our destiny. The right to vote is not a partisan issue; it is the cornerstone of our free, fair, and equal democracy.

“Overwhelming bipartisan majorities in Congress have reauthorized the Voting Rights Act many times since it was first enacted in 1965. Yet, the politics of partisan maneuvering seem to have shifted since the Act was gutted by the disastrous 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision Shelby County v. Holder. We must now work harder than ever to ensure that Black and Brown communities have their voices heard and their right to vote protected, free from political power plays that undermine the foundations of democracy.

“Nothing less than the future of our democracy is at stake. The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is vital to defend the rights of people of color to participate as equal citizens in our elections and to fully realize the promise of democracy embedded in the founding of our nation.”

The voting rights bill named after late Representative John Lewis (GA-05) would update the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 to strengthen sections that were gutted by the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision, and the 2021 Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee decision.


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.