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Press Release

Rep. Castor Applauds House Passage of John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act

Legislation would restore safeguards against anti-voter policies in Florida + other states

On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) voted in support of H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, to restore the critical protections of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA). H.R. 4 would prevent states, including Florida, and localities from restricting the right to vote.

Rep. Castor’s remarks on the House Floor can be found here.

“As Florida and other states continue to enact restrictive, anti-voter laws, it’s more important than ever to fully restore the vital protections of the Voting Rights Act and improve access to the ballot box for our neighbors,” said Rep. Castor. “Today, in honor of my late, great friend John Lewis and countless other Civil Rights leaders, the House voted to restore the full promise of our democracy for all Americans.

“Following the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder, states including Florida have engaged in blatant voter suppression campaigns, voter roll purges and created insidious barriers to the voting booth, especially for our neighbors of color. Americans should not be subjected to harmful and unreasonable voting restrictions, and passage of H.R. 4 will make great strides to secure the sacred right to vote for generations to come.”

H.R. 4 restores Section 4 of the VRA by establishing a modern-day formula that requires states and localities with a recent history of voter discrimination to seek approval from the U.S. Department of Justice before making changes to their voting laws. 

The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act also:

  • Allows federal courts to immediately halt questionable voting practices until a final ruling is made. This provision recognizes that when voting rights are at stake, prohibiting a discriminatory practice after the election has concluded is too late to truly protect voters' rights.
  • Gives the Attorney General authority to request that federal observers be present anywhere in the country where discriminatory voting practices pose a serious threat.
  • Increases transparency by requiring reasonable public notice for voting changes.
  • Includes a retrogression standard for already-enacted but not-yet-implemented measures.
  • Helps plaintiffs to seek injunctive relief for voting rights violations in the lead-up to an election. 
  • Establishes a grant program for small jurisdictions to help them comply with the bill’s various notice requirements.