ACTION ALERT: Urge Your Senators to Support the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act
We Must Apply Pressure: Urge Your Senators to Support the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act
THE ISSUE: In many places across the country today, the promise of democracy is at risk. States have introduced more than 400 state bills and enacted 30 laws that erect barriers to the ballot box for millions of Americans. Voting rights are under attack, with hurdles like gerrymandering and voter ID laws placed in the way to disproportionately and systematically suppress votes from Black communities and communities of color. And last month’s Supreme Court Brnovich v. DNC decision makes it even more difficult for voters to challenge discriminatory voting laws in the future. We must come together to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA) and restore the federal government’s ability to block state and local governments from passing racially discriminatory bills.
WHY IT MATTERS: August 28th, 2021 marks the 58th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. This was a massive protest to call attention to the systemic racism in our society and demand that Congress act. Today state legislators are pushing America back to the Jim Crow era. For democracy to work for all of us, it must include us all. No matter our color, party, or zip code, we all want an equal say in the decisions that shape our future. The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act will restore the essential portion of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) that blocks discriminatory voting policies before they go into effect, putting a transparent process in place for protecting everyone’s freedom to vote.
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would restore the VRA in the following ways:
- Establishing new review and approval criteria for preventing racial discrimination in voting
- Requiring federal review of specific voting practices known to be used to discriminate against voters of color
- Mandating greater nationwide transparency of voting law and policy changes
- Restoring voters’ ability to challenge racial discrimination in court
- Allowing voters of color to challenge voting changes that worsen their position
- Expanding federal courts’ “bail-in” authority
- Updating the law’s “bail-out” framework
- Allowing U.S. Department of Justice to compile documents to investigate voting rights violations
- Expanding the federal observer program
- Pausing discriminatory voting changes during judicial review.
THE STATUS: On August 24, 2021 H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act passed the House of Representatives on a party line vote. Like so many bills before it, this one could fail in the Senate. Join us and ask your Senator to support this bill.
WHAT CAN I DO? Make sure this critical bill does not end up in the legislative graveyard by contacting your Senator, voicing your support and urging them to take up and vote YES on the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
HOW DO I DO IT? Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to connect with your Senator.
Here is also a directory of current Senators, where you can find their websites and ways to contact them online. If you can call during the time when Senators are home in your state, you can contact one of their several in-state offices. Just check their Senate websites to find contact information.
WHAT DO I SAY? I am calling to urge Senator [NAME] to support the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. This is a critical step needed to restore and strengthen our freedom to vote and ensure elections are safe and accessible in [STATE]. For democracy to work for all of us, it must include us all. No matter our color, party, or zip code, we all want an equal say in the decisions that shape our future.
SPREAD THE WORD
Contacting your Senator is just a start. Help us keep the conversation going by spreading the word on social media and urging others to take action. You can find Senators’ Twitter handles here, and below are some sample social media posts you can use:
- The Senate must pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to #RestoreTheVRA and ensure Americans can safely and freely cast our ballots so that every voice is heard and our elections reflect the will of the people.
- Just as we have fought throughout history for our freedom to vote, we must fight now to ensure that every American is able to cast their vote and have it counted. Lawmakers must pass #HR4 to make the promise of democracy real for us all. #RestoreTheVRA
- From AZ to GA, voters turned out in record numbers in 2020 to choose our lawmakers. Now, lawmakers are trying to choose who votes. Congress must pass the John Lewis VRAA to #RestoreTheVRA and ensure all of our voices are heard.
- @[Senator handle] No matter our race, background or zip code, we believe that for democracy to work for all of us, it must include us all. It’s time to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to enact national standards for voting to ensure all of our voices are heard. #RestoreTheVRA