Today, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, a much-needed piece of legislation aimed at protecting the right to vote. In response, Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) issued the following statement:
“We commend the House of Representatives for taking this critically important step in protecting the right to vote with its introduction today of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, H.R. 4. This legislation provides the building blocks for Congress to fully engage in its duty to protect citizens from any efforts to restrict or abridge their most fundamental right – the right to vote.
“H.R. 4 includes provisions that would require states and localities with recent records of discrimination in voting to have their proposed voting changes reviewed before they are implemented to ensure they are not discriminatory. These provisions are crucial to ensure that people are not disenfranchised and able to freely participate in the political process. If these provisions had been in effect this year – as was the case prior to the Shelby County decision – the restrictive voting bills that were recently enacted in states, such as Georgia, Florida, and Arizona, would not have been able to go into effect unless and until the states proved that those laws would not discriminate against racial, ethnic, or language minorities.
“Time is of the essence. Today’s introduction of H.R. 4 is the beginning of the process that ultimately must end in the passage of this critically important piece of legislation. With the fall election season nearly upon us and nation-wide midterm elections a year away, Congress must ensure that every voter – especially Black voters and other voters of color – can exercise their right to participate in the political process without barriers to having their votes cast and counted.”
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.