By Brandon Moseley

Wednesday, Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL07) said that she was “thrilled to see the Senate move forward with the introduction of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act,” in the U.S. Senate. The bill was introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont).

Sewell introduced the voting rights law in the U.S. House of Representatives as H.R. 4.

“I’m thrilled to see the Senate move forward with the introduction of S.4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act,” Sewell said. “I would like to thank Senator Leahy, Senator Durbin, and the 48 Democratic Senators who are original cosponsors of the legislation to restore full protections of the Voting Rights Act in the Senate."

“Congressman Lewis would want us to come together and find a path forward to addressing the many threats facing Americans’ foundational right to vote,” Leahy said. “But what he would not accept is inaction. Now is the time to restore the Voting Rights Act – a bedrock voting rights law – and ensure that every citizen is guaranteed their constitutionally protected right to vote. Protecting the right to vote has never been a partisan issue.  Reauthorizing and improving the Voting Rights Act has always been a bipartisan effort. There is simply no reason for that to change now. This is straightforward, commonsense legislation to address the Supreme Court’s decisions and to ensure that the Voting Rights Act continues to have the effect long intended: to protect the right to vote.”

“The right to vote is at the core of our democracy and should never be a partisan issue,” Sewell added. “I would remind Senators that the last reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act passed unanimously in the Senate in 2006 before being signed by Republican President George W. Bush. It’s time to draw on that same spirit of bipartisanship to protect the precious right to vote for generations to come. However, in the absence of robust Republican support, Democratic Senators must use every tool at their disposal to pass S.4 and ensure it lands on the desk of President Joe Biden.”

Republicans oppose S.4, arguing that it nationalizes elections, tramples on states' rights, and weakens elections laws making it easier for election fraud. With the current 50:50 mix of the Senate, there is no way for the legislation to advance in the Senate. Liberals are urging Sens. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) to join their colleagues to change the rules of the Senate to effectively end the filibuster so that 50 Democrats plus Vice President Kamala Harris can pass the partisan legislation.

“If ever there was a reason to reform the filibuster, it should be to protect our most fundamental right as American citizens, the right to vote,” Sewell said. “Our very democracy is at stake, and we must not let a procedural rule stand in our way.”

Sewell is serving in her sixth term representing Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District. Sewell is an attorney and a native of Selma in Dallas County.