Media Contact

Ella Wiley, ACLU, [email protected], 925-819-0555
Dorrie Toney, ACLU-GA, [email protected], 404-302-0128

February 29, 2024

WASHINGTON— The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and ACLU of Georgia, steadfast advocates for civil liberties and voting rights, commend the reintroduction of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA). In light of the persistent assaults on the voting rights of Black and Brown communities nationwide, the ACLU underscores the urgency of robust federal legislation to protect the fundamental right to vote.

"The stakes transcend partisanship; they reach deep into the heart of our civil rights and liberties," said Sophia Lin Lakin, Director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. “Across the country, we continue to fight back against unnecessary and discriminatory barriers to the ballot. This is why we must protect the sacred right to vote, which is under constant threat, particularly for historically disenfranchised communities. The VRAA represents a collective stand for the values that shape the soul of our nation and is a crucial step towards dismantling discriminatory barriers and fortifying our democratic foundation."

The ACLU continues to witness and fight a wave of state-level legislation that disproportionately targets Black, Brown, and Latine voters, as well as voters with disabilities, through restrictive voting measures. The VRAA would serve as a vital protection against these attempts to suppress voter turnout and silence our voices.

Xavier Persad, ACLU Senior Policy Counsel, asserts, "As defenders of civil liberties, we cannot stand idly by as our voting rights are under siege. The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is a beacon of hope for those facing systemic disenfranchisement. It will not only restore basic protections we once had against racially discriminatory voting laws, but strengthen them so that every eligible voter is able to cast a ballot. Democracy does not work without Black and Brown voters. Congress must prioritize the passage of this legislation to reaffirm our commitment to a fair and inclusive democracy."

“Voting should be easy for every citizen and every vote should count the same,” said Andrea Young, Executive Director of the ACLU of Georgia. “It should not require heroic efforts to ensure full participation in our elections. To protect our democracy and sacred right to vote, we must have the VRAA."

The VRAA, named in honor of the late Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis, seeks to restore and strengthen key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The ACLU recognizes the critical importance of this legislation in safeguarding the democratic process and ensuring equal access to the ballot box for all Americans.

Historically, enacting federal voting rights protections has been a bipartisan effort, and Congress must return to that strong tradition to end racial discrimination in voting.