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House Passes H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019

Washington, D.C. –Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA) of 2019, by a vote of 228-187. The Voting Rights Advancement Act responds to the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision inShelby County v. Holderthat effectively gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act’s most important enforcement mechanism—its preclearance requirement contained in Section 5—which requires jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination in voting to obtain approval by the Department of Justice before any changes to their voting laws can take effect. H.R. 4amends the Voting Rights Act to restore that core civil rights statute to its full vitality, updating the coverage formula and strengthening other related provisions of the VRA.

"The right to vote is central to democracy and foundational to the rule of law, " said Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). "Unfortunately, since the Supreme Court's disastrousShelbydecision that gutted the Voting Rights Act, we have seen deluge of voter suppression laws enacted across our nation. I am so proud that the House passed H.R. 4 today, which honors those who marched, struggled, and even died to secure the right to vote for all Americans by restoring the VRA to its full vitality."

"The right to vote is the most fundamental right of citizenship in our democracy. Yet for most of our Nation’s history, too many of our citizens, and particularly African Americans, were denied this right, especially in the Deep South," said Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Chair Steve Cohen (D-TN)."The Supreme Court was wrong to undermine the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder in 2013 and Republicans have been wrong in not joining us in reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act. Congress has now responded to ensure that every American has the right to cast a meaningful ballot."

"Voting is personal to me, not only because I represent America’s Civil Rights District—but because it was on the streets of my hometown, Selma, Alabama, that foot soldiers shed their blood on the Edmund Pettus Bridge so that all Americans—regardless of race—could vote!" saidCongresswoman TerriSewell (D-AL). "I am so proud that, today, the House took critical steps in addressing the Supreme Court’sShelbydecision and passed H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, to restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to its full strength."


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