Today, in response to the reintroduction of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, Issue One called on Congress to honor the legacy of the civil rights leader by restoring, updating, and strengthening the Voting Rights Act.
“We stand in unwavering support and commitment to ensure that the voice of every eligible voter is heard in our democracy,” said Issue One Founder and CEO Nick Penniman. “The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act honors a noble man who dedicated his life to the pursuit of a more perfect union, and his peers in Congress must carry that torch forward by restoring federal law that prevents voting discrimination. Since 1965, Congress has reauthorized the Voting Rights Act on five separate occasions with near unanimous support, and it’s time for our leaders to come together to get this done once again.”
Introduced by Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL), the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act reaffirms the freedom to vote and access to the ballot box by providing necessary tools to combat discriminatory voting practices that make it harder to vote.
“The freedom to vote is a fundamental pillar of our democracy,” said former Congresswoman and National Council on Election Integrity Co-chair Barbara Comstock (R-VA). “Ensuring equal access to the ballot box for all Americans is not just a matter of principle, but a testament to the enduring values of our republic. This should not be a partisan issue, but a moment for Republicans and Democrats to join together and pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.”
The VRA has a long history of strong bipartisan support. It was last reauthorized under President George W. Bush with a 98-0 vote in the Senate.
“John Lewis was a civil rights hero whose courage and fearless spirit inspired all of us to be better,” said former Congresswoman and National Council on Election Integrity Co-chair Donna Edwards (D-MD). “Today, it is our responsibility to keep his legacy alive by safeguarding the very essence of our democracy — the right to vote. Congress can act by passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to ensure that every eligible citizen can participate in our electoral process without barriers or discrimination.”
A decade after the Supreme Court struck down the VRA’s preclearance protection in Shelby County v. Holder, at least 29 states have passed nearly 100 laws that make it harder to vote, with the most significant burden falling on voters of color.
In advance of next year’s elections, Congress has the important obligation to ensure that every eligible voter has equal access to the ballot box. Members from both parties should work together by passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act that fully restores and strengthens the VRA.
Issue: Voting Rights & Access