Report: Only One House Republican Backs Expanding The Voting Rights Act
The House voted to pass a voting rights act on Friday that was characterized as “historic” legislation for restoring and expanding voting rights that were undone by the Supreme Court in 2013, according to Common Dreams — and they did it with the support of just one Republican.
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania was the sole Republican to vote in favor of the bill, called the Voting Rights Advancement Act.
Republican voter suppression tactics have become a greater concern after the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act with its ruling in Shelby County v. Holder.
"Numerous state legislatures have undertaken targeted and deliberate steps to limit or impede the right to vote for communities of color, students, the elderly, and people with disabilities," said Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs for Public Citizen. "Americans who are eligible to vote but are denied that right due to fabricated or illegal barriers are being deprived of the full privilege of our democracy."
The bill now heads to the Republican-controlled Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) previously refused to hold a vote on Democrats’ For the People Act, to which the Voting Rights Advancement Act was initially attached.
"To Majority Leader McConnell, we ask: why are you afraid of all Americans having their full right to vote?" Sylvia Albert, director of voting and elections at Common Cause, said in a statement.
The bill would target 11 states in particular, according to sponsor Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), including “nine in the South, plus California and New York, which have more recently been found to discriminate against Latinos and Asian Americans."
"The bill would also require all states to get federal approval for election changes that are known to disproportionately affect voters of color, such as strict voter ID laws, tighter voter registration requirements, and polling place closures in areas with large numbers of minority voters,” Berman said.
The bill’s fate in the Senate remains to be seen.