For Immediate Release
October 5, 2021
Today senators introduced the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. In many instances, this legislation would prevent legal changes to voting rules that discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity from being implemented. The bill would also restore voters’ ability to challenge discriminatory laws.
Sean Morales-Doyle, acting director of the Voting Rights and Elections Program at the Center for Justice at NYU Law, had this reaction:
“American voters need the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to protect them from racial discrimination at the ballot box. They needed this legislation in 2013 when the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, and they have even greater need for it today as states pass restrictive voting laws at an unprecedented rate.
“Before he died, John Lewis was appalled and enraged by what was happening to voting rights. His name is on this bill because it matches his belief in a democracy where the color of your skin has no bearing on your right to vote. His name is on this bill because he knew that Congress had to stand up for voters. He knew that Americans could no longer count on this Supreme Court for protection, a Court that keeps looking the other way.
“The sad reality is that the effects of race discrimination persisted even in the 2020 election with its record turnout. While voting was at a record high in every racial group, there was a large disparity between white voters and voters of other races. Seventy-one percent of white voters cast ballots in 2020, compared to 58 percent of voters of other races. That gap will only get worse under the new state laws restricting the vote.
“The House passed the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. It’s now up to the Senate to do its part and pass this bill to keep our elections fair for all.”
Brennan Center Research
- “Voting Laws Roundup: October 2021” (Oct. 4, 2021)
- “Racial Turnout Gap Grew in Jurisdictions Previously Covered by the Voting Rights Act” (Aug. 20, 2021)
- “Large Racial Turnout Gap Persisted in 2020 Election” (Aug. 6, 2021
Brennan Center Experts’ Testimony on the John Lewis Act
- Wendy Weiser, Aug. 16, 2021, House Judiciary Committee's Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Subcommittee
- Sean Morales-Doyle, July 16, 2021 House Judiciary Committee’s Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Subcommittee
- Michael Waldman, June 24, 2021, Committee on House Administration's Subcommittee on Elections