Leahy pushes for voting rights bill named after Rep. John Lewis

Published: Jul. 22, 2020 at 3:54 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (WCAX) - Over the last several days, politicians from across the ideological spectrum have paid tribute to the late Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis. Now, Democrats are putting his name on a bill to protect American voting rights.

Wednesday, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy spoke on the Senate floor to introduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The bill would restore the protections of the original Voting Rights Act of 1965. That law was reauthorized in 2006 but weakened by a Supreme Court decision in 2013 that led some states to install measures making it harder to vote.

Supporters of the bill say measures like voter ID laws and reduction of multilingual voting materials are denying some Americans their right to vote.

Leahy urged his colleagues to carry on John Lewis' work.

"This is a bipartisan legislation. It has 47 Senate cosponsors. It would safeguard what John fought for over a lifetime to achieve: equality at the voting booth," said Leahy, D-Vermont.

The same bill was introduced last year by Democrats but gained little traction in the Republican-controlled Senate.

The House passed a companion bill to the Voting Rights Advancement Act back in December.

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