House Democrats on Tuesday unanimously introduced the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, a bill named for the late civil rights leader that would restore and expand the protections of the Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court’s Republican-appointed majority gutted in two infamous rulings in 2013 and 2021.
The House had previously passed a version of the legislation in 2021, but it failed to advance in the Senate last year when Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema sided with every Republican to support a filibuster against it.
Once again sponsored by Alabama Rep. Terri Sewell, the revised bill would establish a new formula to determine which states and localities must “preclear” any proposed changes to election laws and procedures with the Justice Department or a federal court. The previous preclearance regime, which was struck down in 2013 by the Supreme Court, applied to states and localities—largely in the South—with a history of racial discrimination in their voting laws. Its dismantling sparked a wave of GOP-backed voter suppression laws, many of which have targeted people of color.
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