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Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA). The VRAA is a landmark voting rights bill that would restore key protections from the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which outlawed race-based discrimination in voting, and help pave the way towards a more representative and inclusive democracy. The Voting Rights Act, a hard-won outcome of years of activism during the Civil Rights Movement, was previously gutted by the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling on Shelby v. Holder and further weakened in July 2021 by the Court’s ruling on Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, leaving Americans more vulnerable to racist voter suppression tactics. 

Now that the House has passed the VRAA, the bill will advance to the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Schumer (D-NY) has indicated that voting rights legislation, including this bill and the For The People Act, will be a top priority when the Senate returns from recess.

Brent J. Cohen, executive director of Generation Progress, shared the following statement on the House passage of the VRAA:

“Young people, particularly young Black people, have been at the forefront of the movement to expand and protect voting rights since before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 became law—and younger generations continue to be leaders in this fight by advocating for bills like the VRAA. Young people are pushing for federal action to protect voting rights, as restrictive laws have been introduced or passed in at least 43 states since the 2020 election, in an attempt to block voting access. Our generations know that in order to see progress on the issues that we care about, such as climate change or gun violence prevention, we need to be able to participate in and be represented by our democracy.

Generation Progress commends the House of Representatives for passing this momentous piece of legislation and urges the Senate to introduce and pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act as soon as Senators return from recess.” 

To learn more or to speak with an expert, contact eleach@americanprogress.org. 

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