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Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 4 - John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021

August 23, 2021


(House Rules)
(Rep. Sewell, D-AL, and 218 cosponsors)

The Administration strongly supports House passage of H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021 (VRAA).

The right to vote freely, the right to vote fairly, the right to have your vote counted is fundamental. In the last election, all told, more than 150 million Americans of every age, of every race, of every background exercised their right to vote.

This historic level of participation in the face of a once-in-a-century pandemic should have been celebrated by everyone. Instead, some have sought to delegitimize the election and make it harder to vote, in many cases by targeting the methods of voting that made it possible for many voters to participate. These efforts violate the most basic ideals of America.

Yet another massive wave of discriminatory action may be imminent as we enter a new legislative redistricting cycle. Unfortunately, incumbents too often cling to power by drawing district lines to favor their own prospects at the expense of minority communities, choosing their voters instead of the other way around.

While anti-voter action undermines democracy for all Americans, we know that communities of color often suffer the worst effects of these measures—and all too often, that is not by accident.

The sacred right to vote is under attack across the country.

The VRAA will strengthen vital legal protections to ensure that all Americans have a fair opportunity to participate in our democracy. Among other things, it would create a new framework for allowing DOJ to review voting changes in jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to ensure that they do not discriminate based on race. It would also clarify the scope of legal tools designed to challenge discriminatory voting laws in court, ensuring that the Voting Rights Act offers protection against modern forms of voter suppression.

In an essay published shortly after he died, Congressman John Lewis wrote, "Democracy is not a state. It is an act[.]" This bill not only bears his name, it heeds his call. The Administration looks forward to working with Congress as the VRAA proceeds through the legislative process to ensure that the bill achieves lasting reform consistent with Congress' broad constitutional authority to protect voting rights and to strengthen our democracy.

Joseph R. Biden, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 4 - John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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