Over the last decade, the Supreme Court has gutted the landmark Voting Rights Act, paving the way to enactment of nearly 100 state laws that make it more difficult to vote—especially for people of color, people with disabilities, students, and senior citizens.
For nearly 50 years, the Voting Rights Act required states and localities with a history of racial voting discrimination to preclear—get federal approval of—proposed changes in voting laws and practices. In Shelby County v. Holder, decided in 2013, the court struck down the formula used to determine where preclearance is required. In Brnovich v. DNC, decided in 2021, the court made it even harder to challenge discriminatory voting laws.
The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would restore the full protections of the original Voting Rights Act, modernize the framework for determining where preclearance is required, prevent restrictive and discriminatory voting laws from taking effect, and dismantle barriers to challenging discriminatory voting laws.