Wyden, Merkley Introduce The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley joined Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and 45 other senators in introducing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, a bipartisan bill to restore the landmark Voting Rights Act, end the scourge of minority voter suppression and help preserve the legacy of John Lewis – one of America’s greatest civil rights heroes.

“We all stand in the shadow of John Lewis’ legacy as a fierce advocate for the voting rights of all Americans. He was a devout believer that it was our moral obligation as citizens to stand up for the rights of the most disenfranchised, no matter what it took. We have the opportunity to cement his legacy and to secure the right to vote into black letter law,” Wyden said. “We’ve seen states fighting tooth and nail to block marginalized Americans from the ballot box. Congress cannot afford to stand idly by as Americans’ inalienable rights are trampled.”

“John Lewis was a powerful advocate to the very end,” said Merkley. “He committed his life to ending discrimination, fighting for racial justice, and opening the doors of opportunity for all. Time and time again, he put his own life on the line to speak up for every American’s right to vote, and the best way we can honor his legacy is to continue his fight, and pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act so everyone has an equal opportunity to participate in our democracy.”

In 2013, the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision gutted critical voter protections within the Voting Rights Act, crippling the federal government’s ability to prevent discriminatory changes to state voting laws and procedures. In the wake of Shelby County, states across the country unleashed a torrent of voter suppression schemes that have systematically disenfranchised minority voters. These discriminatory efforts to restrict access to the ballot box undermine the progress and equality that John Lewis fought hard over the decades to achieve, from his time as a civil rights movement leader to his tenure in Congress. The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would restore and modernize the Voting Rights Act, as well as provide the federal government with other critical tools to combat what has become a full-fledged assault on Americans’ right to vote.

Wyden, Merkley and Leahy introduced the bill, alongside Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Doug Jones, D-Ala., Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Chris Coons, D-Del., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Bob Casey, D-Pa., Tim Kaine, D-Va., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Tina Smith, D-Minn., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Angus King, I-Maine, Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., Mark Warner, D-Va., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Tom Carper, D-Del., Ben Cardin, D-Md., Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Tom Udall, D-N.M., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., Jon Tester, D-Mont., Gary Peters, D-Mich., Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Joe Manchin, D-W.V.

The full text of the bill is available here

A summary of the bill is available here.