Republicans Block John Lewis Voting Rights Act
In SummaryIn the bill, Democrats aim to require jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to win prior approval from the Justice Department or federal courts in Washington before changing their voting rules.
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act was rejected by Senate Republicans, making it the second time the GOP blocked the significant voting bill in the past two weeks.
The bill, named for the civil rights activist and congressman who died last year, needed 60 votes to advance, but received only 51.
In the bill, Democrats aim to require jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to win prior approval from the Justice Department or federal courts in Washington before changing their voting rules. It also seeks to strengthen protections against unjust election practices limited by the Supreme Court ruling in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee.
“Just because Republicans will not join us doesn’t mean Democrats will stop fighting,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, after the vote. “We will continue to fight for voting rights and find an alternative path forward.”
The provision of the act struck down on Wednesday was to restore voting protections against discrimination at the ballot box.
“We wouldn’t be dealing with some of these terrible, draconian measures in Georgia right now if preclearance were on the books,” said Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat.
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act differs from the Freedom to Vote Act, which Republicans have rejected three times through filibusters.
The Freedom to Vote Act counters Republicans’ efforts to impose voting restrictions in minority communities.
“The Freedom to Vote Act puts the fire out in this 911 state of emergency in our democracy,” Warnock said. “The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is about building a fire station for future fires.”