Patrick Leahy and Senate Dems Introduce Measure to Strengthen Voting Rights Act

Senate Democrats have introduced a measure to strengthen the Voting Rights Act.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act was introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and 48 other senators. The legislation would update the Voting Rights Act to strengthen sections previously affected by Shelby County v. Holder (2013) and Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee (2013), Supreme Court decisions that weakened its key provisions.

Shelby affected Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which empowered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to screen voting changes in states with a history of racial discrimination. Brnovich upheld voting restrictions in Arizona, weakening Section 2, which prohibits racially-targeted voting policies.

Today, tens of thousands of Americans are being disenfranchised, under the guise of state law,” Leahy said. “Make no mistake: This tidal wave of voter suppression efforts seeks to bend the arc of equal justice and equal rights backwards. This simply cannot stand.”

Leahy called the measure the “culmination of many months of tireless work across the halls of Congress – exactly what Congressman Lewis would have wanted to see.”