Democracy Reform Task Force Chair Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today voted to pass H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, a bill that would restore and protect voting rights across the country.
This historic legislation builds on the momentum of H.R. 1, the For the People Act – a once-in-a-generation package of reforms to clean up corruption in Washington, expose secret foreign money in our politics, crack down on lobbyists, strengthen election security, return power back to the American people with citizen-owned elections and protect the right to vote. The Voting Rights Advancement Act fulfills the promise of H.R. 1’s findings section, which affirms Congress’ commitment to restore the Voting Rights Act.
“Americans shouldn’t have to run an obstacle course to get to the ballot box,” said Congressman Sarbanes, who authored H.R. 1. “After the Supreme Court’s misguided decision in Shelby vs. Holder, we’ve seen voter suppression efforts ramp up in states across the country. These harmful measures deny many Americans the sacred right to vote. H.R. 4 will fight back against voter suppression by restoring voting rights and protecting access to the ballot box.”
Sarbanes continued: “I want to thank Congresswoman Terri Sewell for spearheading this crucial piece of legislation. I’d also like to recognize the Chair of the House Subcommittee on Elections, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, for her leadership and for holding extensive field hearings across the country to gather the facts and help build the case for fully restoring the Voting Rights Act. I’d like to thank the leadership of House Administration Committee Chairperson Zoe Lofgren and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler for holding several hearings on voting rights and shepherding H.R. 4 through the Judiciary Committee. Lastly, I’d like to recognize the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi for advancing House Democrats’ historic efforts to clean up corruption in Washington and to expand the right to vote.”
Key provisions of H.R. 4 include:
- Cracking down on voter suppression efforts;
- Rooting out racial discrimination in voting;
- Increasing public information about changes to voting times and polling locations; and