Today, Rep. Greg Stanton joined more than 190 of his House colleagues to introduce H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, to restore the full protections of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965.
“In the face of a relentless partisan effort to restrict access to the ballot box, Congress must do everything we can to protect the fundamental right of every American to make their voice heard,” said Stanton, a member of the House Judiciary Committee. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to preserve the promises of our democracy by again giving teeth to the Voting Rights Act.”
Since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in its 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision, and again weakened voting rights protections in the Brnovich v. DNC decision in July of this year, there has been a steady increase in the number of restrictive voting bills that disproportionately suppress turnout among minorities, Tribal communities, young adults, and the elderly—including efforts in Arizona to chip away at the state’s effective vote-by-mail program.
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Specifically, the bill will address the Court’s misguided Shelby County decision by establishing an updated formula for determining which states and localities must obtain federal pre-clearance before making changes to their voting laws. It also establishes a targeted process for reviewing voting changes based on measures that have historically been used to discriminate against voters.
For areas to qualify for judicial pre-clearance, they must have one of the following qualifications:
- States with a history of 15 or more violations at any level in the previous 25 years;
- States with a history of 10 or more violations, if one violation occurs at the state level in the previous 25 years; or
- Subdivisions with 3 or more violations in the subdivision in the previous 25 years.
H.R. 4 also accounts for the Court’s recent decision in Brnovich v. DNC by creating specific standards for courts to apply when ruling on cases brought under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
The House is set to consider H.R. 4 next week.