Dear Colleague on the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act

January 14, 2022
Press Release

Dear Democratic Colleague,

Thanks to the great strength and unity of our Caucus, this week the House passed the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act and sent it to the Senate for urgent consideration.  We cannot and we will not rest until this legislation is enacted into law.

As President Biden forcefully declared this week in Georgia, we must find a path forward to defend our democracy.  Next week, after our nation commemorates voting rights hero Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Senate must do its part to advance this legislation.  Nothing less than our democracy is at stake.

A vital piece of this bill, named after our beloved late Congressman John Lewis, will restore the heart of the Voting Rights Act.  Support for the Voting Rights Act has long been strongly bipartisan.  Republican Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush all supported this pillar of our democracy.  Four times the Congress has reauthorized the Voting Rights Act on a strong, bipartisan vote – most recently in 2006, when the House voted 390-33, the Senate voted 98-0 and President George W. Bush signed the bill into law.

The Freedom to Vote Act is essential to protecting our democracy, as it stops voter suppression and election subversion, ends partisan gerrymandering, empowers the grassroots and curbs the influence of dark money.

First, this bill will stop the sinister campaign of voter suppression and election subversion.  Across the nation, Republican lawmakers have enacted 34 draconian laws in 19 states that not only restrict the right to vote, but empower election officials to nullify the results of a free and fair election after the votes are cast.

Second, this bill will end partisan gerrymandering.  In doing so, we will ensure that the redistricting process meets the standards of the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.

Third, this bill will empower the grassroots and reward their participation in our democracy.  Our bill empowers states to amplify the power of small-dollar donors with matching funds, without putting any taxpayer dollars toward this purpose.

Fourth, this bill will curb big, dark, special interest money in our politics.  This oppressive funding is the major reason why Republicans refuse to support this legislation, as their political futures depend on protecting this anti-democratic dark money.  Right now, anonymous funders are suffocating the airwaves with misrepresentations and suppressing the voices of the American people. 

As we continue to work toward the passage of this legislation, let us salute the Congresswoman Terri Sewell, author of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, Congressman John Sarbanes, master of the Freedom to Vote Act, Chairs Zoe Lofgren, Jerry Nadler and Jim McGovern, and Congressman G.K. Butterfield for their leadership.

And, thank you for your continued leadership For The People in the #FightForOurVotingRights.