WASHINGTON--Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, today applauded the passage of H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives. This landmark legislation, cosponsored by Congressman Kildee, would help combat voter suppression and restore the full strength of the Voting Rights Act.
Americans are facing the worst voter suppression efforts since Jim Crow. Republican State Legislatures across the country, including in Michigan, have introduced over 400 voter suppression bills to make absentee voting and early voting more difficult, reduce polling place hours, purge voters from the rolls and increase barriers to voting for Americans with disabilities.
Congressman Kildee's legislation would restore portions of the Voting Rights Act struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 in Shelby County v. Holder, ensuring that states and jurisdictions with a history of voting rights violations have to pre-clear any election changes with the U.S. Department of Justice. The VRA previously stopped thousands of discriminatory voter suppression laws, but the Shelby decision unleashed a torrent of discriminatory laws. Until recently, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was bipartisan, reauthorized five times since its passage in 1965 under Republican and Democratic presidents.
"This legislation is urgently needed to protect the right to vote for Michiganders," Congressman Kildee said. "The 2020 election was free, fair and secure. But that hasn't stopped Republicans from trying to take away your freedom to vote as they attempt to rig the next election in their favor. Across the country, Republicans are pushing voter suppression bills to take away your right to vote by mail, limit early voting and reduce polling hours. The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would restore the Voting Rights Act to stop these discriminatory laws. This bill is named after my good friend, former Congressman John Lewis, who dedicated his life to expanding and protecting the sacred right to vote. We must honor his legacy and defend the right to vote for all Americans."
In the 116th Congress, Kildee previously supported passage of H.R. 4, however then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to bring the bill up for a vote.