Statement of Administration Policy: S. 4 - John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
(Sen. Leahy, D-VT, and 48 cosponsors)
The Administration strongly supports Senate passage of S. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021 (VRAA), just as it supported H.R. 4 in the House of Representatives.
The right to vote freely and the right to have your vote counted are fundamental. In the 2020 election, 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.
Meanwhile, yet another wave of discriminatory action is upon us, 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 communities of color, with politicians 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 would 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 the Department of Justice 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.
S. 4 also includes the Native American Voting Rights Act, which would address systemic and other barriers that Native Americans face when voting, and ensure that Tribal communities could fully participate in the election process. It would provide essential protection of fundamental voting rights for Tribal communities, and has the Administration's strong support.
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 John Lewis's 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: S. 4 - John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/353896