Michelle Obama Issues Rallying Cry To Unite Behind John Lewis Voting Act

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Former First Lady Michelle Obama is joining those celebrating the passage this week of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act by the House. Now, the bill is awaiting further action in the Senate, and in a message on Wednesday, Obama also called on Americans to speak out to their Senators in support of the bill. If made law, the legislation would establish important new guardrails to protect against voter suppression. In short, it would re-institute a previous requirement for certain changes to the conducting of elections to be approved by federal authorities before those changes’ implementation. The hope would be to stop at least some instances of voter suppression before they start.

On Wednesday, Obama commented as follows:

‘Last night, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act passed in the House of Representatives. Today, I’m celebrating this victory. Because it’s not every day that a landmark bill like this—a bill that will give a voice to so many—has a chance to become law. But this is far from a done deal. Like so many others before it, this bill could fail in the Senate. So I’m asking you to make your voice heard. Join me and [When We All Vote], and ask your Senator to support this bill: http://weall.vote/johnlewisvra.’

Check out the former First Lady’s remarks below:

When We All Vote is a voting advocacy organization, founded by Michelle Obama, which conducts efforts like voter registration drives and voter education initiatives. Going forward, the Senate’s filibuster rules could threaten the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act in that chamber, since the provisions require the agreement of at least 60 Senators in the 100-member group before moving forward on most bills. With the Senate’s current party breakdown in place, hitting that threshold would require 10 Republicans to join with all Democrats — and such is no doubt a tall order. There could be interest among moderate Republicans in supporting the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, however. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) supported a prior version of the legislation.

If successfully made law, the bill in question could help impede the current efforts by Republicans around the country to implement suppressive new election restrictions. Generally speaking, these restrictions do not respond to any actual, documented, systematic problems with election integrity — since such issues do not exist in the United States — but the provisions do make it more difficult to vote.