Congressman DeFazio Votes to Defend Voting Rights from Partisan Voter Suppression Attacks
Congressman Peter DeFazio (OR-04) yesterday voted in support of H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
“The right to vote is every American’s most sacred right. It is the lifeblood of our representative democracy. We should be expanding access to the ballot box, not adding more hurdles,” said Rep. DeFazio. “Sadly, the right to vote is once again under attack in states across the country, as millions of Americans, particularly Black Americans and other minorities, face disenfranchisement. From reducing polling stations to making it illegal to hand a bottle of water to a voter waiting in line—these appalling measures undermine the foundations of our democratic process. I’m proud to help pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, named after my late friend and civil rights icon John Lewis, which will restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to its full strength and defend our democracy.”
In its 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively gutted the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. The 5-to-4 decision struck a requirement that required states and jurisdictions with a history of disenfranchising citizens to get approval from the Department of Justice, called preclearance, before they could make any changes to voting rights laws.
The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021 will restore the full strength of the Voting Rights Act and prevent the systematic attempts at voter suppression that we have seen over the past several years. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, more than 400 voter suppression bills have been introduced in 49 states in 2021. Emboldened by the myth spread by Donald Trump and Republicans that there was massive voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, 18 states have already enacted 30 laws that restrict the right to vote in 2020 alone. These harmful bills include attempts to make voting more difficult by restricting vote-by-mail and early voting, making faulty “voter purges” more likely, reducing polling locations and hours, and going to so far as to make it a crime to provide water to those waiting in line to vote.