The Human Rights Campaign Praises Passage of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4) by the U.S House of Representatives

by Richard Brookshire

The Human Rights Campaign Praises Passage of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4) by the U.S House of Representatives

The Human Rights Campaign praised the passage of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4) by the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation seeks to restore the full protections afforded under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, while also further strengthening voting rights and expanding the government's ability to respond to voter suppression and discrimination.

The Human Rights Campaign praises today’s passage of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — an important step toward ensuring every American is guaranteed their constitutional right to vote and protected against anti-democratic efforts to strip those rights away. This bill pushes our country closer to its promise of a more perfect union while upholding the legacy of a hero, civil rights icon, and tireless champion of the work of the Human Rights Campaign, Congressman John Lewis. And with this vote, the House has moved us toward closing the floodgates of voter suppression that the Supreme Court threw open with its decision in Shelby County. The time is now for the United States to guarantee equal and unequivocal access to the fundamental and sacred right to vote — for all Americans.

Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President

In 2013, the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder effectively gutted provisions requiring certain states and localities with a history of discriminatory electoral practices to obtain federal preclearance before implementing any changes to their voting laws. Without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, many states and localities have brazenly pushed forward politically motivated and discriminatory changes to voting policies and procedures in order to disenfranchise and silence marginalized communities — and obstruct full access to the right to vote.

Congressman John Lewis’ life-long commitment to actualizing a just and inclusive American democracy is exemplified by this crucial legislation named in his honor. The Human Rights Campaign — which joined the NAACP, American Civil Liberties Union, Anti-Defamation League, and others in urging the passage of H.R. 4 in a letter organized by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights — now implores the bill’s immediate advancement for passage in the Senate.

Many in the LGBTQ+ community — and especially LGBTQ+ people of Color — endure and fear discrimination while accessing the right to vote. A 2019 HRC Foundation survey found that:

  • Fear of or experiencing discrimination led 22% of LGBTQ adults, 35% of LGBTQ adults of color, 49% of transgender adults, and 55% of transgender adults of color to avoid voting in at least one election in their lives.

  • An issue with meeting voter identification requirements prevented 24% of LGBTQ adults, 35% of LGBTQ people of color, 42% of transgender people from voting in at least one election in their lives. Furthermore, 46% of transgender people of color said they did not vote in one or more elections in their lives specifically because their ID had an incorrect gender marker, name, or photo.

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