Congresswoman Scanlon Celebrates House Passage of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05) today issued the following statement regarding the passage of H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, by the U.S. House of Representatives:

“With today’s passage of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, the promise of democracy is kept alive. 

“Since the founding of our country, our quest for a more perfect union has featured measures to expand, rather than contract, the right to vote. In 1965, activists — including a young John Lewis — gave their blood, sweat, and tears to ensure passage of the original Voting Rights Act (VRA). For decades, the VRA enjoyed broad bipartisan support, but with the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, the door was opened for an onslaught of anti-democratic voter suppression laws that have since been passed in state legislatures across the country.  

“In 2021, the assault on voting rights continues — inspired by corrupt and cynical efforts to undermine the will of American voters and hold on to power, no matter the costs. We must reinforce our democratic system against these new threats, because it won’t hold forever. This is precisely why we need the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act. 

“There is nothing more sacred in our democracy than the freedom to vote, and we must do everything in our power to protect that freedom. I applaud my House colleagues for supporting H.R. 4 today, and I urge the Senate to act with similar urgency so the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act can become law.”

Congresswoman Scanlon also addressed the need for H.R. 4 on the House floor today. View her remarks

The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act:

  • Restores the preclearance requirement, which was gutted by the Shelby County decision, allowing the federal government to once again reject many restrictions to voting, and creates a new practice-based preclearance requirement.
  • Eliminates the heightened standard for challenging voter suppression laws, which was created by the Brnovich decision.
  • Allows federal courts to immediately halt measures that put voting rights at stake until a final ruling is made.
  • Empowers the Attorney General to request that federal election observers be present anywhere in the country where discriminatory voting practices pose a serious threat.
  • Requires reasonable public notice for proposed voting changes to increase transparency.
  • Allows the federal government to review already-enacted but not-yet-implemented measures.
  • Helps plaintiffs seek injunctive relief for voting rights violations ahead of an election. 
  • Establishes a grant program for small jurisdictions to help them comply with the bill’s requirement to provide public notice for proposed voting laws.

After passing today in the House, H.R. 4 will now go to the Senate for consideration.

Congresswoman Scanlon is an original cosponsor of H.R. 4 in the 117th Congress. Read the text of H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.


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