Voting is a defining act of American citizenship. Unfortunately, recent Supreme Court cases have enabled states to enact a wave of voter suppression measures – like reducing early voting and imposing registration restrictions – intended to restrict Americans’ opportunities to exercise that fundamental right.

In Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court struck down a key component of the Voting Rights Act of 1965: the formula that compelled states with a history of voting rights violations to receive federal approval before implementing changes to their voting policies. While in effect, this requirement compelled covered jurisdictions to demonstrate that proposed voting changes would not deny or abridge the right based on race, color, or membership in a language minority group. The Court’s ruling effectively nullified Section 5 until Congress could adopt a new coverage formula.

Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee curtailed the scope of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act – a provision designed by Congress to prohibit state or local discriminatory voting laws and give voters or the federal government the ability to challenge them. In Brnovich, the Court established several restrictive factors for courts to consider when voters file claims under Section 2.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which I am proud to have co-sponsored and voted for, would both update the Voting Rights Act’s “preclearance” formula and address the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee. Passing this legislation would restore federal oversight of state and local voting policies. I will continue doing everything I can to get a remedy passed into law as quickly as possible so every American will have an equal opportunity to vote.

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