At a press conference this afternoon, several Texas congressional and state Democrats called upon the U.S. Senate to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. The Texas lawmakers noted the urgency of the moment: Greg Abbott has already signed a sweeping voter suppression bill as well as excessively gerrymandered redistricting maps.
“We can’t protect our democracy if we don’t end the filibuster and pass the John Lewis Act in the Senate,” said State Rep. Nicole Collier, who is also the Chair of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has indicated that he will bring the John Lewis Voting Rights Act for a vote as soon as this week. However, it’s passage is dubious.
Last week Republicans in the Senate blocked the Freedom to Vote Act. That was the third time this year that they successfully stopped voting rights legislation. And Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona remain opposed to amending the filibuster, which means 60 votes are necessary for any voting rights laws.
Congressman Al Green also highlighted the dire situation happening in Texas that could be stopped with the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. “Texas, which I love dearly, has been on the wrong side of voting rights for many years,” he said. “The Senate has got to understand that this will make a difference not only in terms of who’s represented in Congress, but in terms of how resources are accorded people by virtue of the representation they have.”
The John Lewis Voting Rights Act would restore several provisions from the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that were gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013. It would also restore federal preclearance for any state attempting to pass voter suppression laws.