Crist Vote Protects the Right to Vote
Washington, August 24, 2021
Today, Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) voted to pass H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore critical protections from the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to ensure the people’s right to vote is not infringed.
An original cosponsor of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, Congressman Crist has vigorously advocated for the passage of this crucial legislation, including leading a letter in March following attempts by Florida's Governor and Legislature to make voting more difficult for working Floridians, students, and seniors. H.R. 4 would prevent states and localities with a recent history of voter discrimination from restricting the right to vote by requiring these jurisdictions to obtain a federal pre-clearance before changing their voting laws. H.R. 4 passed in the House of Representatives today by a vote of 219-212.
“Unfortunately, voter suppression is alive and well in many parts of the country, including my beloved home state of Florida,” said Crist. "As states across the country pass discriminatory laws to suppress the vote, such as S.B. 90 in Florida, the need to restore federal oversight is urgent. I am proud that today we took the crucial steps necessary to restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by passing H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. This bill honors the legacy of my friend John Lewis, and all those who fought and bled for the right to vote.”
For decades, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) prevented states and localities from restricting the right to vote. However, in its disastrous Shelby County v. Holder decision in 2013, the Supreme Court gutted the civil rights law, invalidating Section 4 and striking down the formula used to determine which jurisdictions are subject to federal oversight. In July 2021, the Court further weakened the law in its decision in Brnovich v. DNC which made it more difficult to challenge discriminatory voting laws under Section 2.
Since 2013, there has been a steady increase in the number of restrictive voting laws that disproportionately suppress turnout among minorities, young adults, and the elderly. This accelerated in 2021 after President Trump created the “Big Lie” that the election was stolen. Just this year, 18 states have enacted at least 30 laws to restrict access to the vote.
Named for the late Congressman and civil rights icon John Robert Lewis, H.R. 4 restores Section 4 of the VRA by establishing a modern-day formula that requires states and localities with a recent history of voter discrimination to seek approval from the U.S. Department of Justice before making changes to their voting laws.
For areas to qualify for judicial pre-clearance, they must have the following qualifications:
H.R. 4 also restores Section 2 of the VRA by eliminating the heightened standard created by the Supreme Court in Brnovich v. DNC.
The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act also:
- DOWNTOWN ST. PETE OFFICE
696 1st Avenue North, Suite 203
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Phone: (727) 318-6770
Fax: (727) 623-0619
WASHINGTON, DC OFFICE
215 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5961
Fax: (202) 225-9764
- MIDTOWN OFFICE
1300 22nd Street South, Suite 316
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
By Appointment: (727) 318-6770
NORTH COUNTY OFFICE
9200 113th Street North, Suite 310
Seminole, FL 33772
By Appointment: (727) 318-6770