U.S. House passes Voting Rights Advancement Act
The House of Representatives today passed legislation to defend Americans against attacks on their voting rights.
The Voting Rights Advancement Act would work to counteract incursions into voting rights by restoring the full force of the Voting Rights Act, renewing protections that were gutted by the 2013 Shelby v. Holder Supreme Court decision.
The legislation would require states and localities with a recent history of voter discrimination to seek federal approval from theDepartment of Justice before making any changes to their electoral laws. The legislation would ensure that states like Virginia are required to obtain preclearance for changes to voting practices and procedures.
This provision would protect against voter disenfranchisement by ensuring laws are approved and constitutional before going into effect.
The VRAA also includes strengthened protections for Native Americans, naturalized citizens, and voters with disabilities.
“From our nation’s founding to the Civil Rights movement, Virginians have always stood up to fight for their most foundational right – a voice in our government. That fight continues today, in the face of unprecedented efforts to silence Americans through voter suppression efforts that seek to disenfranchise some people from participating in our democratic system,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va. “The right to vote is the bedrock of our system of government, and I’m proud to help pass this legislation to restore vital voter protections, strengthen our democracy, renew faith in our electoral system, and defend each Virginian’s right to be heard.”
“Protecting every citizen’s sacred right to vote is one of Congress’ most important duties,” said Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Va. “Since the Supreme Court’s disastrous Shelby County v. Holder decision, we have witnessed unprecedented efforts across the country to restrict access to the ballot box, particularly for individuals of color, individuals with disabilities, and the elderly. The Voting Rights Advancement Act would help address this growing crisis by restoring and bolstering key oversight and enforcement provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. By passing this landmark legislation, House Democrats have taken decisive action to help end these harmful, discriminatory practices, and I urge my Senate colleagues to pass this bill immediately.”
“The Voting Rights Advancement Act is a sorely needed reform to stop the attacks on voters which have unfolded in state houses following the terrible Shelby decision,” said Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va. “The intent of many of these laws was clearly to weaken our democracy by preventing Americans from exercising their lawful right to vote. Justice demands that Congress put an end to attempts to disenfranchise voters based on race using voter restrictions and gerrymandering.”