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For Immediate Release

Contact

Stephen Peters, peters@civilrights.org

Press Release

Congress Must Pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to Protect the Freedom to Vote

WASHINGTON -

Wade Henderson, interim president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the following statement on the House introduction of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — critically important legislation to restore the essential portion of the Voting Rights Act that blocks discriminatory voting policies:

“No matter our race, background, or zip code, we all value the freedom to vote and believe that all Americans should have a say in key decisions that impact our lives. Yet, with more than 400 state bills attempting to erect barriers to the ballot box for millions of Americans and a Supreme Court decision making it more difficult for voters to challenge discriminatory laws in the future, the promise of democracy is at risk. We absolutely must come together to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and restore the federal government’s ability to block state and local governments from passing racially discriminatory bills.”

BACKGROUND:

The Voting Rights Act has a long history of bipartisan support. In fact, every time the law has been reauthorized, it has been signed into law by a Republican president after first being signed into law by Democratic President Lyndon Johnson in 1965 during the height of the civil rights movement. When it was reauthorized most recently in 2006, it passed the Senate with unanimous support: 98 to 0 with 53 Republicans, 44 Democrats, and one Independent.

###

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. Through advocacy and outreach to targeted constituencies, The Leadership Conference works toward the goal of a more open and just society – an America as good as its ideals.

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