LETTER: Congress Should Reject the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021
For immediate release: August 24, 2021
The following letter was distributed to members of Congress regarding H.R. 4 (the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021).
August 24, 2021
The House is scheduled to vote today on H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021. Despite the use of former Rep. John Lewis’s name, this legislation is much different than the bill he cosponsored in the 116th Congress. We urge you to oppose this divisive and irresponsible legislation.
H.R. 4 is an unwarranted Federal power grab that would effectively block any meaningful voter ID requirements, thereby enabling ineligible voters to nullify the choices of millions of legal voters. It insults the ability of minorities to obtain and utilize a government-issued ID – the same ID required for nearly every aspect of daily life (e.g., driving a car, purchasing alcohol, entering the U.S. Capitol or White House, cashing a check, picking up tickets at a will call window, obtaining a coronavirus vaccine).
Proponents of this ill-advised legislation advance the false claim that they are fighting against new “Jim Crow” laws in the States. This claim belittles the sacrifices of the suffragists and civil rights activists who paved the way for real equality in our nation. Jim Crow was a government backed system that robbed black men and women of their dignity and even their lives. Such practices have long been outlawed and voting rights have been further enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and our entire legal system. Minority voter participation is at an all-time high.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder and Brnovich v. DNC decisions preserved the Voting Rights Act as a tool to challenge voting laws that are intentionally discriminatory or have substantial discriminatory effects. H.R. 4 empowers political appointees at the Justice Department to block commonsense voting safeguards and encourages partisan activists to file politically motivated lawsuits.
The American people deserve a government that provides equal opportunity for all Americans and seeks to unite us around common values, not divide us with false claims and politically—motivated power grabs. H.R. 4 fails that test and it should be rejected by Congress.
Star Parker, President
Marty Dannenfelser, Director of Governmental Relations
Rev. Tim Latiff, Director of Clergy Center