Senator Reverend Warnock, Colleagues Reintroduce John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act

Lawmakers announce Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Acton Tuesday, March 12

Legislation would likely have prevented voter suppression laws like SB 202 in Georgia, which effectively allows partisan state actors to overrule the decisions of local election officials

Senator Reverend Warnock: “This legislation is more important than ever because the fight to protect voting rights and voting access for every eligible American remains unfinished, and even worse, so much of the progress Congressman Lewis fought for is being rolled back”


Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) led Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and 48 of their Senate Democratic colleagues to reintroduce the John R. Lewis Voting Advancement Act, legislation that would update and restore critical safeguards of the original Voting Rights Act of 1965 that have been eroded in recent years by federal court rulings. The legislation would strengthen our democracy by reestablishing preclearance for jurisdictions with a pattern of voting rights violations, protecting minority communities subject to discriminatory voting practices, and defending election workers from threats and intimidation. It is named in honor of voting rights champion and former Georgia Congressman John Lewis.

“The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is rightfully named in honor of the late, great Congressman John Lewis. I was Congressman Lewis’ pastor, but he was my mentor and hero because he believed voting is a sacred undertaking that’s about more than a person’s voice, it’s about their humanity. That’s why this legislation is more important than ever because the fight to protect voting rights and voting access for every eligible American remains unfinished, and even worse, so much of the progress Congressman Lewis fought for is being rolled back,” said Senator Reverend Warnock. “I’m proud to reintroduce this legislation with Chair Durbin, and as we work to pass it into law, I look forward to building on John Lewis’ lifetime of service to honor him by protecting the sacred right to vote.”

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s damaging Shelby County decision in 2013—which crippled the federal government’s ability under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to prevent discriminatory changes to voting laws and procedures—states across the country have unleashed a torrent of voter suppression schemes that have systematically disenfranchised tens of thousands of American voters, including SB 202 in Georgia. The Supreme Court’s decision in Brnovich v Democratic National Committee delivered yet another blow to the Voting Rights Act by making it significantly harder for plaintiffs to win lawsuits under the landmark law against discriminatory voting laws or procedures.

In addition to Senator Warnock, Chair Durbin and Leader Schumer, the legislation was also introduced by U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Laphonza Butler (D-CA), and cosponsored by U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jack Reed (D-RI), Thomas R. Carper (D-DE), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Warner (D-VA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chris Coons (D-DE), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Angus King (I-ME), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Edward Markey (D-MA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tina Smith (D-MN), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), John W. Hickenlooper, Jr. (D-CO), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Peter Welch (D-VT), and John Fetterman (D-PA).

The VRAA is endorsed by 234 organizations and individuals, including the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the NAACP. It’s also endorsed by a broad coalition of clergy from a range of faith traditions, environmental groups, including the League of Conservation Voters, and health care advocacy groups, including Planned Parenthood and Protect Our Care. These organizations understand that voting rights are preservative of all other rights and progress on a range of critical issues cannot take place if citizens cannot make their voices heard. The list of endorsing Georgia and national organizations of The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act can be found HERE.