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Pascrell Votes for John Lewis Voting Rights Act

As Republican attacks on democracy grow, reauthorized VRA will help halt voter suppression and election rigging

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) today voted in favor of H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The legislation will reauthorize and reinvigorate the Voting Rights Act as Republican election suppression measures are pushed across the country. H.R. 4 was approved in the House by a 219-212 margin.

“John Lewis was my friend for 24 years. The Voting Rights Act was his most sacred legacy. Today we are reaffirming our commitment to democracy,” said Rep. Pascrell. “We face a perilous time with nearly 400 separate bills across the country waging war on voting. This new Jim Crow is the product of the Supreme Court maliciously gutting the Voting Rights Act and opening the floodgates to voting suppression and Republican legislators perpetuating Big Lies about our elections. Inspired by John and by courageous state legislators and organizers fighting for our right to vote, our legislation will revive the Voting Rights Act because there is little we can do in Congress that is more important than protecting our democracy. The Senate must do whatever it takes to pass this legislation in 2021. Our window to protect democracy is shutting fast.”

The Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder struck down Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, 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.

Last month Rep. Pascrell met with Texas State Reps. Alex Dominguez and John Bucy to discuss the need to pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act and to thank them for standing up for democracy in Texas.

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