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Pascrell Proudly Cosponsors John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act

With American democracy under assault, reauthorization of VRA essential to ending pervasive voter suppression

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) today announced he is an original cosponsor of H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The legislation will reauthorize and reinvigorate the Voting Rights Act as Republican ballot suppression measures are pushed across the country.

“John Lewis was my friend for 24 years. The Voting Rights Act was his most important legacy and his gift to us,” said Rep. Pascrell. “The Voting Rights Act must now be reinvigorated because voter suppression is on the march. There are now over 380 bills across almost every state seeking to wage war on voting. They are the new Jim Crow and are the product of the Supreme Court maliciously weakening the Voting Rights Act. Our legislation will revive the Voting Rights Act to protect voting rights at a dark hour for this country. Because there is nothing we can do in Congress that is more important than protecting our democracy. Passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement this session is essential to future of the United States.”

The Supreme Courts’ 2013 Shelby County v. Holder ruling struck down Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), which outlined the qualifications needed to determine which localities are required by the Justice Department to pre-clear elections changes in states with a history of voter discrimination. Since the Shelby decision, nearly two-dozen states have implemented restrictive voter ID laws and previously-covered states have closed or consolidated polling places, shortened early voting, and imposed other measures that restrict voting.

The Voting Rights Advancement Act seeks to restore the VRA by developing a process to determine which states must pre-clear election changes with the Department of Justice. It will also require a nationwide, practice-based pre-clearance of known discriminatory practices, including the creation of at-large districts, inadequate multilingual voting materials, and cuts to polling places.

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