AGF Applauds the Passage of H.R. 4 by U.S. House of Representatives
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4 by a vote of 228-187. First introduced on February 26, 2019, by Congresswoman Terri Sewell (AL-7), H.R. 4 is also known as the Voting Rights Advancement Act. The Andrew Goodman Foundation was proud to be present for this historic occasion, as we stand committed to living the legacy of Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner by making young voices and votes a powerful force in democracy.
While the 2018 Midterm Election saw an increase in youth voting, students—especially students of color—continue to face unique challenges to participating in our democracy. If H.R. 4 is signed into law, students, particularly in areas where voter suppression is most prevalent, will enjoy the same voting opportunities as other voters without fear of discrimination.
The bill seeks to stop voter suppression by fully restoring and modernizing the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA). Often referred to as one of the most important landmark pieces of federal legislation, the VRA was passed with nonpartisan support to safeguard our country’s most precious right—the right to vote. The 2013 Shelby County vs. Holder U.S. Supreme Court decision stripped away many of the protections of the Voting Rights Act, paving the way for many states to pass restrictive laws deliberately meant to suppress the vote.
If enacted, the Voting Rights Advancement Act will create a new area of coverage based on repeat voting rights violations, put in place a process for reviewing voting changes with a special focus on measures used to discriminate against voters of color, as well as increase transparency about voting changes, expand federal judiciary oversight, and speed up injunctive relief for voting rights cases.
Legislation like H.R. 4 brings us a step closer to delivering on a promise of an inclusive and equitable democracy. Only by prioritizing every citizen’s right to vote—regardless of age, race, sex, or creed—and a government that is for the people will we ever realize America’s true potential. That’s why The Andrew Goodman Foundation joins The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and other Civil Rights organizations to applaud the U.S. House of Representatives for passing H.R. 4.