U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined 46 other Senators, led by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), in introducing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The bipartisan bill would 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.
The legislation was originally introduced last year as the Voting Rights Advancement Act. The bipartisan group of Senators reintroduced the legislation this week to honor Congressman John Lewis, a civil rights leader, who passed away earlier this month. Shaheen and Hassan were both cosponsors of the original legislation.
"Renaming this bipartisan legislation is a fitting tribute to the legacy of John Lewis, a civil rights icon and American hero," said Senator Shaheen. "John Lewis never stopped fighting to secure equality, liberty and justice for all Americans. He was an unrelenting force that ushered in the civil rights movement and dismantled racist voting laws meant to disenfranchise Black and minority voters. As we mourn his passing, we can honor the service he gave to our country by carrying his work forward and seeing this legislation through. I urge Senate Majority Leader McConnell to immediately bring the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to the Senate floor so we can restore the Voting Rights Act and ensure every eligible voter is able to exercise their civic duty, undeterred."
"Congressman John Lewis repeatedly put his own life on the line to fight for Black Americans' ability to exercise their fundamental right to vote," said Senator Hassan. "But in the wake of the Supreme Court's Shelby County decision, voters of color are once again seeing their rights threatened by discriminatory laws across the country. To honor the legacy of John Lewis and continue his fight to protect voting rights, I am calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to take long overdue action to bring the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act up for a vote without delay."
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.