WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the historic John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, H.R. 4. The landmark legislation includes a new formula for determining which states are subject to preclearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), which requires states with a history of discriminatory voting practices to get federal approval before passing new voting laws. The previous formula was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013. H.R. 4 would revitalize one of the most powerful enforcement mechanisms of the VRA as conservatives continue to mount an all-out assault on voting rights in states across the country. All Democratic members of the House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 4, while all Republicans stood opposed.
“Any diminishment of the Voting Rights Act is a diminishment of our democracy. In America, the right to vote must never, ever be compromised,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) during the floor debate of the bill.
Voting rights groups have been calling for the passage of H.R. 4 for months. Alongside the For the People Act, the legislation is part of a historic election reform effort by Democrats that would significantly expand ballot access, protect voters from suppression and revitalize our democracy.