Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, a former civil rights attorney, have joined 48 of their colleagues in introducing the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The legislation would update and restore critical safeguards included in the original Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court weakened crucial tenets of that landmark law prohibiting discriminatory voting practices. 

“The Voting Rights Act was one of the most pivotal and transformative laws of the 20th century, as it finally protected the long-delayed promise of democracy for Black Americans,” said Warner. “Tragically, we’ve seen the Supreme Court take aim at some of the most effective portions of the law, diluting its power and turning the clock back for folks seeking a fair shot at the ballot box. I’m proud to support the John R. Lewis Voting Advancement Act so we can restore critical portions of the VRA, recommit to preventing discriminatory voting regulations, and honor the towering legacy of Rep. Lewis and all the civil rights heroes who forever strengthened American democracy.” 

“The ability to vote freely and conveniently regardless of where you live or what you look like is crucial to democracy. But Americans in at least 14 states will have a harder time voting this year because their state legislatures passed new, restrictive voting laws,” said Kaine. “That’s unacceptable. It’s past time for Congress to act, in part by restoring the Voting Rights Act so we can protect Americans’ right to make their voices heard at the ballot box.”

The Supreme Court’s disastrous Shelby County v. Holder decision in 2013 significantly curtailed the federal government’s ability to prevent discriminatory changes to voting laws and procedures—opening the floodgates for voter suppression. The Supreme Court’s subsequent ruling in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee further weakened the Voting Rights Act by making it significantly harder for plaintiffs to challenge discriminatory voting laws or procedures. The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would restore and strengthen the Voting Rights Act in the wake of those rulings.

The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is endorsed by hundreds of organizations, including the following leading civil rights organizations: ACLU, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, MALDEF, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, and Demos.