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Forty-nine Democratic Senators Introduce Voting Rights Legislation

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October 12, 2021

Forty-nine Democratic Senators Introduce Voting Rights Legislation

Senate Democrats introduced legislation on Tuesday, October 5, aimed at restoring voting protections that were lost in two Supreme Court decisions over the course of the last decade.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (VT) introduced the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act,” S. 4, along with 48 other senators. The legislation would update the Voting Rights Act (VRA) to strengthen sections that were gutted by the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision and 2021 Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee decision.

The Shelby County decision gutted Section 5 of the law, which allowed the Justice Department to screen voting changes in states with a history of racial discrimination. The Brnovich decision, decided earlier this year, upheld a pair of Arizona voting restrictions that threaten to suppress the vote of racial minorities. Voting rights advocates decried the ruling as a weakening of Section 2 of the VRA, which barred racially-targeted voting policies.

A version of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, H.R. 4, passed in the House earlier this year.

“Voting in the 2022 midterm elections will start less than a year from now,” said Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance. “With so much at stake, we clearly need the House and Senate to protect the right to vote by passing this bill.”

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