Washington, DC – The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) applauded today’s re-introduction of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2023 in the House as a necessary step to protect ballot access across the country. Since May, more than 320 bills to restrict voting access were introduced in 45 states. Thirteen of these bills are now law across 11 states.
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“Free, fair, and inclusive elections are fundamental to a healthy democracy. All Americans have the right to vote, and our decision-makers should ensure no one faces undo obstacles when exercising that right,” said Bridget Moix, FCNL’s general secretary. “At a time when our democratic systems are under attack, and before the next election cycle heats up, Congress should make passing this bill a top priority. Our democracy can only live up to its promise if our government safeguards the integrity of the voting process for all of us.”
Since the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision, states have been rolling back voter protections and access. This is especially true for voters of color, voters with disabilities, Native American voters, and the elderly. Without the vigorous protections afforded by the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965, which the Supreme Court greatly watered down with its 2013 decision, states have begun to disenfranchise certain communities wholesale with little to no oversight and legal ramifications.
“State legislatures across the nation are suppressing the votes of millions, notably of Black and brown people. For democracy to work for all of us, it must include us all, not just some of us. The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would block discriminatory voting policies before they go into effect, creating a transparent process for protecting everyone’s freedom to vote. That is desperately needed to restore some measure of faith and trust in our democracy and elections,” said José Santos Moreno, FCNL’s director for justice reform. “We urge the House and the Senate to protect the freedom to vote by passing this legislation, fully restoring and strengthening the VRA.”
To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.