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Baldwin, Colleagues Introduce John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act

Legislation fights back against voter suppression, updates and restores critical safeguards of the original Voting Rights Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and her colleagues introduced the John R. Lewis Voting Advancement Act, legislation to stop state voter suppression efforts, safeguard critical voting rights protections, and restore and enhance the Voting Rights Act.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s damaging Shelby County decision in 2013—which crippled the federal government’s ability under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to prevent discriminatory changes to voting laws and procedures—states across the country have unleashed a torrent of voter suppression schemes that have systematically disenfranchised tens of thousands of American voters.  The Supreme Court’s decision in Brnovich delivered yet another blow to the Voting Rights Act, by making it significantly harder for plaintiffs to win lawsuits under the landmark law against discriminatory voting laws or procedures.

“The right to access the ballot box and have your voice heard is foundational to how our democracy and country works. Unfortunately, we have seen targeted attacks on this right in Wisconsin and across the country, and we need to put an end to it,” said Senator Baldwin. “Our bill honors the legacy of the late Congressman John Lewis and continues his work by curbing voter suppression, protecting Americans’ right to the ballot box, and ensuring the power is in the hands of the people.”

The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is endorsed by hundreds of organizations, including the following leading civil rights organizations: Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, American Civil Liberties Union, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), MALDEF, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, and Demos.

The legislation is led by U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

The full text of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act can be found here.

A section-by-section analysis of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act can be found here.