Congress Can and Must Revitalize the Voting Rights Act

Today, as we approach the 59th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, members of the U.S. Senate, led by Sen. Durbin and Sen. Warnock, reintroduced the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA). This pro-democracy legislation, named after the late civil rights icon, would amend and restore the full strength of the Voting Rights Act (VRA).  

“The John Lewis VRAA will help America realize the true promise of our democracy: a government of, by, and for the people,” said Trevor Potter, president of Campaign Legal Center (CLC), and a Republican former chairman of the Federal Election Commission. “59 years ago, John Lewis and thousands of other civil rights champions shed their blood on the Edmund Pettus bridge in the fight for a better, more inclusive democracy. Today, we seek to honor their vision. Campaign Legal Center strongly endorses the John Lewis VRAA and urges legislators to work across party lines to protect the freedom to vote for all — a goal that transcends political divides.”  

Attacks on voting rights escalated after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the 2013 case Shelby County v. Holder, with the attacks growing even more persistent since 2020. In the past decade, Americans have seen cutbacks to early voting periods, sudden changes to polling place locations, passage of racially discriminatory maps, new and unnecessary roadblocks to casting ballots and restrictions on the right of nonpartisan civic engagement groups to help citizens participate in the democratic process.  

Notably, the VRAA would reestablish and revitalize the important preclearance system gutted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder, as well as strengthen the right of voters to challenge discriminatory election laws, which the Court has also weakened in recent years. These essential reforms will protect Black and brown voters throughout the voting process and help ensure every American can participate in our democracy.