On Tuesday (Aug. 24), the House of Representatives passed a bill that gives the federal government more power in order to preserve voting rights. The House passed the bill, dubbed the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act after the late Georgia congressman, along party lines.
On Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell tweeted about the bill, saying, “John knew that the battle for justice never truly stops.” “Each generation must fight and fight again to maintain and advance the progress of the past. It’s now our turn.”
The bill, according to CNN, aims to reinstate a section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that was undercut by two prior Supreme Court rulings.
If the bill passes, the US Justice Department will once again be able to prevent some jurisdictions with a history of voter discrimination from modifying their election laws.
The bill will now go to the Senate for a vote, where it will face stiff opposition from conservative members. The law is opposed by the majority of Republicans, who believe it gives the federal government too much influence over state electoral procedures. So far, only Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has expressed support for the plan.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell claimed earlier this summer that the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act was “unnecessary” because “discriminating in voting on the basis of race is already against the law.” The law would “grant the Justice Department essentially unlimited jurisdiction to control the voting systems of every state in America,” according to McConnell.
The state of Georgia, the Georgia Secretary of State, and the Georgia State Election Board were sued by the Justice Department in June over the state’s new voting statute.
The government agency said in its petition that lawmakers were aware of “the cumulative and discriminatory effect of these laws—particularly on Black voters—and that parliamentarians enacted the statute despite this.”
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