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Larson Votes to Restore Voting Rights

August 24, 2021
Press Release
Bill Restores the Full Strength of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, After Two Key Supreme Court Decisions Weakened the Act, Unleashing Voter Suppression Laws

Washington, D.C. - Today, Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) voted for H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021.  H.R. 4 restores provisions in the original Voting Rights Act of 1965 that were undermined by two Supreme Court decisions, Shelby County v. Holder (2013) and Brnovich v. DNC (2021). 

The most essential and fundamental right in a democracy is the right to vote. John Lewis knew that. He spent his life fighting to make sure that the under-served, less-privileged, and those who have traditionally been discriminated against would not be denied access to the ballot box. That’s why today’s vote is so important. The efforts that we’ve seen take place across this country by Republican lawmakers to prevent people from voting are undemocratic, anti-American, and against every intention of the constitutional democracy we live in,” said Larson.

The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021 would: 

  • Create a new formula to determine which states and political subdivisions must preclear changes to voting rules with the Department of Justice; 
  • Require all jurisdictions nationwide to preclear certain proposed changes to voting rules, including: 
  • the imposition of stricter voter ID requirements, 
  • reductions in polling locations or hours, 
  • reductions in the availability of non-English language voting materials relative to materials in English, 
  • and changes to procedures regarding maintenance of voter registration lists; 
  • Clarify Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act to create tests for assessing vote denial and dilution claims, making it a more effective tool for challenging racially discriminatory laws; 
  • Give the Department of Justice the ability to sue for constitutional violations; 
  • Make it easier to obtain preliminary injunctions; 
  • Allow challenges to voting rule changes that make minority citizens worse off in their ability to vote; 
  • Increase transparency by requiring reasonable public notice for voting changes; 
  • Provide grants to small jurisdictions to comply with new public notice requirements; 
  • Allow the Attorney General authority to send federal election observers anywhere in the country where there is a serious threat of racial discrimination in voting.