Rep. Sewell Introduces Voting Rights Advancement Act at #RestoreTheVOTE Speak Out
Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL) introduced the Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 2978), legislation which restores protections for voters in states with a recent history of discrimination, with over 180 cosponsors in the House. Four years after the Supreme Court’s decision to gut the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder, the VRAA addresses a wave of voter ID laws, racial gerrymandering, and other voter suppression tactics enacted at the state level.
“Today, I’m introducing the Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA) because I believe that the right to vote is one of the most fundamental rights in our democracy,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “As state after state create new barriers to the polls, our work to prevent discrimination and protect the rights of all voters has taken on a new urgency. The time to restore the vote is now.”
“On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, I urge my colleagues to recommit ourselves to restoring the promise of voter equality. We cannot silence any voices in our electorate. Our nation will cease to be a democracy if we limit access to voting.”
In support of the VRAA, Members of Congress, advocates and allies gathered on the Capitol grounds Thursday for a speak out. Speakers at the event included Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn, House Democratic Caucus Chair Joseph Crowley, Reps. John Lewis, Terri Sewell, Judy Chu, Michelle Lujan Grisham, John Conyers, Marc Veasey, Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, NAACP Washington Bureau Director Hilary Shelton, The Leadership Conference President Vanita Gupta, ACLU Political Director Faiz Shakir, and AAJC Director of Census and Voting Programs Terry Ao Minnis.
The VRAA seeks to restore full protections to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 after the Supreme Court gutted the VRA on June 25, 2013. To address the Supreme Court’s concerns with the VRA, the VRAA creates a new coverage formula and applies to states with repeated voting rights violations in the last 25 years. Should this week’s legislation pass into law, 13 states nationwide would be subject to federal election oversight due to a recent history of voter discrimination.
Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) is serving her fourth term representing Alabama’s 7th Congressional district. She sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and was recently appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Sewell is a Chief Deputy Whip and serves on the prestigious Steering and Policy Committee of the Democratic Caucus. She is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and serves as Vice Chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus, and Vice Chair of Outreach for the New Democrat Coalition.