Kamala Harris Calls For Immediate Voting Rights Protections To Honor John Lewis

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On the anniversary of the death of Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis over the weekend, Vice President Kamala Harris once more called for action by Congress to protect voting rights. Throughout his life, Lewis worked on behalf of that cause, and he was even on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, in 1965 on what became known as “Bloody Sunday,” when local law enforcement violently assaulted pro-voting rights demonstrators. Among other work, Lewis also participated in the “Freedom Rides,” which consisted of bus journeys across the South with Black and white passengers riding together. Lewis and those with him were violently assaulted for their peaceful stand against segregation.

At present, Democratic leaders are focusing on bills known as the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The For the People Act — which has already been filibustered by Senate Republicans but could be brought up again — contains a range of provisions that would make voting in federal elections more accessible. The bill named after the late Congressman would re-impose a requirement for pre-approval by federal authorities ahead of the implementation of certain changes to the conducting of elections, with a hope of stopping voter suppression before it begins.

Harris commented as follows, discussing John Lewis:

‘As we mourn his loss, we reflect on the legacy of an American hero. Congressman Lewis fought tirelessly for our country’s highest ideals: freedom and justice for all, and for the right of every American to vote… The best way to honor his legacy is to carry on the fight – by passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, the For The People Act, and by helping eligible voters no matter where they live get registered and vote, and have their vote counted. The fight is not over.’

Read her remarks below:

President Biden also spoke out about voting rights on the occasion of the anniversary of Lewis’s death. Biden insisted over the weekend that observers should “forge a coalition of Americans of every background and political party — advocates, students, faith leaders, labor leaders, business executives — and raise the urgency of this moment,” adding: “For We the People, for our democracy, for America itself – we must act.” Republicans around the country have been backing suppressive new election restrictions that respond to no real, documented, systematic election integrity issue — since such an issue does not exist in the U.S. — but do make voting more difficult.