House Democrats introduced a voting rights bill that was named in honor of the late Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.), Rep. Teri Sewell (D-Al) announced on Tuesday.
Driving the news: The bill would restore elements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and allow the federal government to block certain state changes to election laws it found to be discriminatory.
- "Today, old battles have become new again as we face the most coordinated effort to restrict the right to vote in generations & a Supreme Court keen on destroying our nation's most consequential civil rights law, the Voting Rights Act," Sewell said.
Why it matters: Democrats are trying to counter a wave of new voting restrictions in Republican states. Any bill faces an uphill battle in the tied Senate where it would need 60 votes to pass.
Background: In 2013, the Supreme Court gutted a provision of the Voting Rights Act that allowed for regulation of new election laws. The provision primarily affected Southern states which had a history of discrimination.
- In July, the Court upheld a set of voting restrictions in Arizona making it much more difficult for the Justice Department to challenge new voting laws.
The big picture: The House is poised to vote on the measure next week. They passed For the People, an expansive election and anti-corruption bill, in March, which was ultimately blocked by Republican senators.
- "Across the country, we continue to bear witness to GOP attacks on voting rights with restrictive laws and voter-ID rules to prevent people of color, students, and others from having their voices heard at the ballot box," said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Tuesday.