According to a new statement from the White House, the Biden administration “strongly supports” the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act that’s currently under consideration by the House. If enacted, this bill would reinstate a requirement for federal authorities to approve certain changes to the conducting of elections prior to their implementation, and the hope would be to allow officials to stop at least some instances of voter suppression before they even begin. Such a provision was included in the 1965 Voting Rights Act, but the U.S. Supreme Court set that aside in a 2013 ruling.
The statement from the Biden administration reads, in part, as follows:
‘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.’
It’s true — in the months since last year’s presidential election, Republicans in positions of state-level power around the country have pushed restrictive new election regulations that do not respond to any documented, systematic problem of election integrity — since such an issue does not exist in the United States — but do make it more difficult to vote. One egregious example of this sort of thing comes out of Georgia, where Republican Governor Brian Kemp recently signed a broad new elections bill into law that includes sharp limits on the number of drop boxes for mail-in ballots that individual counties can have. Under the new rules, individual counties are only permitted to have one drop box for every early voting site or for every 100,000 active registered voters, whichever figure is smaller. The rule is poised to force Fulton County, which includes Atlanta, to go from the 38 drop boxes it had last year to just eight in future elections.
The new statement from the Biden administration also notes that with the redistricting process just getting underway, more voter suppression-related issues could be imminent if legislators decide to draw and/or approve district lines that favor their own re-election chances rather than proportionately reflect the will of the people. As the statement puts it:
‘The sacred right to vote is under attack across the country.’
Referring to the observation by the late Congressman John Lewis himself that democracy is an “act” rather than a mere “state” of being, the statement from the Biden team notes that the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act “not only bears his name” but also “heeds his call.” Check out the full statement from the Biden administration by clicking on the post below:
Biden administration "strongly supports" the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act: pic.twitter.com/z4uAUTFg4p
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) August 23, 2021