Senators discuss voting bill named for Georgia’s John Lewis

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 2:22 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (WRDW/WAGT) - The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a major voting rights act named for the late civil rights leader and Georgia Congressman John Lewis.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021 was introduced Tuesday in the Senate by a Vermont senator and was also supported by other lawmakers, including both of Georgia’s senators.

The bill aims to protect voting rights, and the main witness at Wednesday’s hearing was the assistant attorney general, who said the bill was needed.

“Recently, there’s been a resurgence in attacks on voting rights, including cuts to early voting periods, burdensome restrictions to register or vote, racially gerrymandered redistricting plans, polling sites eliminated or consolidated in communities of color,” said Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general.

The bill is facing opposition from Republican lawmakers, who claim it would give the federal government more oversight into state elections.

The measure has already passed the House, but it faces an uncertain future in the Senate.

At the hearing, Georgia Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff made a call urging passage of the bill.

“I can think of no better way to honor the life and legacy of Congressman John Lewis as our country still mourns his passing last year, than to restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965, for which he bled, and nearly died, to protect that precious, almost sacred, right to vote,” Ossoff said.

The bill includes a measure from Ossoff meant to help protect election workers and their families from threats of harm and safeguard election infrastructure, such as polling places.

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