Public Citizen Statement on the Introduction of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act

WASHINGTON, D.C – Today, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) introduced the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore parts of the Voting Rights Act. Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, released the following statement:

“In the Shelby County decision gutting the Voting Rights Act, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his majority opinion, ‘the country has changed.’ Well, it hasn’t changed so much that states on their own can be trusted to protect voting rights. Enabled by the Supreme Court, states across the country are now racing to make it harder for people of color to exercise their freedom to vote.

“Today, the U.S. House of Representatives moves to restore the federal guarantee of all Americans’ freedom to vote with the introduction of the aptly named John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The legislation is based on an extensive record that should demonstrate to the satisfaction of Justice Roberts, and anyone else, the need to restore the federal protections undermined by prior Supreme Court decisions.

“We are witnessing in real time a nationwide, nakedly racist effort to block people of color from voting. The denial of voting rights – a fundamental element of equal citizenship – to Black people and other people of color is one of the greatest stains on our nation’s history. Any revival of this shameful history is unconscionable and cannot be permitted.

“The House is expected to move expeditiously to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Senate must follow immediately after returning from recess. If Republicans insist on filibustering the John Lewis Act, along with the vital voting and democracy protections in the For the People Act, then the filibuster must be set aside.

“The choice between protecting the filibuster and protecting our democracy is no choice at all. These bills must be sent to President Joe Biden’s desk and signed into law.”