Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia Votes to Pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act

August 24, 2021
Press Release
Media contact: Daniela Campos Lopez | daniela.campos@mail.house.gov | 202-227-0330

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia issued the following statement on the House of Representatives historic vote to pass H.R. 4 the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act:

"I am proud to have voted yes on H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Protecting the right to vote is one of our most important duties as members of Congress,” said Congresswoman Garcia.

“The passage of H.R. 4, is huge for American voters around the country, but it is especially important for communities of color, Latinos, seniors, workers, and people whose voting rights are being threatened by the GOP’s suppression sessions in Texas and many other states around the country.”

“I want to thank the Democratic members of the Texas State Legislature for fighting fiercely to protect Texan voting rights. This victory belongs to them and voting rights advocates. Their brave actions and efforts to prevent the passage of voter suppression bills in the state have made a difference. I have said it before, and I will say it again, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is a step toward honoring the legacy of the late Congressman because it continues the work that he fought so strongly for—equal voting rights for all.”

“We are all equal under the law, and we should be treated equally at the ballot box. This bill will only help our democracy to become stronger. We will continue working until our elections are free, fair, and accessible to all eligible voters.”

Named for the late Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis, H.R. 4 restores the preclearance requirement, allowing the federal government to once again reject many restrictions to voting, and creates a new practice-based preclearance requirement.  The bill also eliminates the heightened standard for challenging voter suppression laws, which was created by the Brnovich decision.

The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act will also:

  • Allow federal courts to immediately halt measures that put voting rights at stake until a final ruling is made.
  • Empower the Attorney General to request that federal election observers be present anywhere in the country where discriminatory voting practices pose a serious threat.
  • Require reasonable public notice for proposed voting changes to increase transparency.
  • Allow the federal government to review already-enacted but not-yet-implemented measures.
  • Help plaintiffs seek injunctive relief for voting rights violations ahead of an election. 
  • Establish a grant program for small jurisdictions to help them comply with the bill’s requirement to provide public notice for proposed voting laws.

 

After passing today in the House, H.R. 4 will now go to the Senate for consideration.

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Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2018, becoming the first Latina ever to represent the Texas 29th Congressional District. She serves on the House Judiciary and Financial Services Committees.