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SPLC Action Fund: Anti-Democracy U.S. Senators Block Debate on John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act that Would Restore Voting Rights Act of 1965

Particularly in Deep South, federal oversight needed to ensure changes to elections and political maps being drafted right now are not racially discriminatory

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate held a vote to move the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (JLVRAA, VRAA) to the floor for formal debate. This cloture vote failed to receive the necessary 60 votes so the bill could be formally debated. 

Full language and summary of the bill are available HERE.  

The following statement is by LaShawn Warren, Chief Policy Officer for the SPLC Action Fund:  

“At no point in our country’s history have all Americans – particularly those in the South – had free, easy, unfettered access to the polls and to have their voices heard in our democracy. But the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA) provides a path forward to finally build a political system that matches our highest American ideals. 

“It is deeply upsetting when public officials intentionally block efforts to ensure that every citizen can vote regardless of their race, ethnicity or the language they speak. The right to vote is not a partisan issue; it is a moral issue. We hold ourselves out to the world as a representative democracy, but even in the face of January 6 insurrection, many U.S. Senators still refuse to support efforts to ensure we have a government that that works for and serves everyone.  

“Inaction on voting rights is not an acceptable path forward. States have made countless changes to election processes for eight years – all without any oversight – and now they are set to finalize political maps denying representation and resources to communities that need them most. Just this year, 19 states, many in the South, passed 33 anti-voter laws that will make it harder for Americans to vote.  

“The U.S. Senate last approved the VRA in 2006 for 25 years in an overwhelming, bipartisan 98-0 vote. Some of the senators who blocked debate today voted for that very renewal of the VRA that would have lasted until 2031. 

“Given the high stakes, we call on the majorities in the U.S. Congress to do everything in their power to overcome gridlock and deliver a democracy that finally includes and delivers for every American.”