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Congresswoman Nikema Williams Applauds the Introduction of H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act

August 17, 2021

WASHINGTON - Today, H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act was introduced with Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05) as an original cosponsor. The bill restores federal oversight for states with a recent history of voter discrimination. Eight years after the disastrous Supreme Court Shelby County v. Holder decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act addresses a wave of restrictive, anti-voter laws being enacted at the state level.

“It’s a shame that in 2021 we are still fighting many of the same fights my friend and predecessor, John Lewis had to fight,” said Congresswoman Williams, who is also a Co-Chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus. “By passing H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, we can prevent states like Georgia that have a history of voter suppression from enacting new Jim-Crow-2.0 laws. There are not two sides to this issue. You are either on the side of our democracy or you aren’t, and I urge all my colleagues to support H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.” 

The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act seeks to restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Specifically, the bill will take into account the Shelby County v. Holder decision in 2013 by establishing an updated formula for determining which states and localities must obtain federal preclearance before making changes to their voting laws. It also establishes a targeted process for reviewing voting changes based on measures that have historically been used to discriminate against voters. 

For areas to qualify for judicial pre-clearance, they must have the following qualifications:

  • States with a history of 15 or more violations at any level in the previous 25 years
  • States with a history of 10 or more violations, if one violation occurs at the state level in the previous 25 years
  • Subdivisions with 3 or more violations in the subdivision in the previous 25 years

The bill also addresses the decision in Brnovich v. DNC by eliminating the heightened standard created by the Court to challenge racially discriminatory laws under Section 2. 

The House of Representatives is set to consider H.R. 4 next week and already passed H.R. 1, the For the People Act. 

CONTACT: PressGA05@mail.house.gov