McEachin Helps Protect the Right to Vote for All Americans

August 24, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) voted to pass H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, to restore critical provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and ensure the right to vote is protected. The landmark legislation prevents states and localities with a recent history of voter discrimination from restricting the right to vote by requiring them to obtain federal preclearance for any election changes.

“Voting is among the most sacred rights afforded to Americans, which is why I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and help pass this historic legislation,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “Congressman Lewis and other warriors in the Civil Rights movement fought, and even died, to protect the right to vote. Voting rights should not be a partisan issue, yet we are seeing coordinated state-level attacks on voter protections across the nation. H.R. 4 will help ensure national standards for voting rights and safeguard Americans’ access to the ballot box. I urge the Senate to pass this legislation, protect our democracy, and restore the vote.”

For decades, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) prevented states and localities from restricting the right to vote. However, in its Shelby County v. Holder decision in 2013, the Supreme Court gutted the law, invalidating Section 4 and striking down the formula used to determine which jurisdictions are subject to federal oversight. In July 2021, the Court further weakened the law in its decision in Brnovich v. DNC which made it more difficult to challenge discriminatory voting laws in Section 2.

The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act:

  • Allows federal courts to immediately halt questionable voting practices until a final ruling is made. This provision recognizes that when voting rights are at stake, prohibiting a discriminatory practice after the election has concluded is too late to truly protect voters' rights.
  • Gives the Attorney General authority to request that federal observers be present anywhere in the country where discriminatory voting practices pose a serious threat.
  • Increases transparency by requiring reasonable public notice for voting changes.
  • Includes a retrogression standard for already-enacted but not-yet-implemented measures.
  • Helps plaintiffs to seek injunctive relief for voting rights violations in the lead-up to an election. 
  • Establishes a grant program for small jurisdictions to help them comply with the bill’s various notice requirements. 

Read the full bill text of H.R. 4 here.

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