On Tuesday, the House of Representatives narrowly passed H.R. 4, also known as “The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act,” which would give the federal government sweeping power to intervene in state elections if the state in question has been accused of “voter discrimination,’ ABC reports.
The bill passed along party lines in the lower chamber, by a margin of 219-212. No Republicans voted in favor of the bill, which is named after the far-left Georgia congressman who died in office last year. The bill seeks to restore a statute from the original 1965 Voting Rights Act that had been struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013; the statute would permit the federal government to conduct its own review of local and statewide election laws and procedures if the state is considered to have “a history of voter discrimination.”
In the 2013 decision, Shelby v. Holder, the nation’s highest court ruled that demanding the states first seek permission from the federal government before changing voting laws was unconstitutional.
During debate on the House floor over the bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made numerous false claims about current voting laws in the United States, claiming that “our democracy is under attack from what is the worst voter suppression campaign in America since Jim Crow.” Describing the Shelby v. Holder decision as “dangerous,” she then pointed to “over 400 suppression bills” that have been passed since the 2020 presidential election.
In the aftermath of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, which may have been enough to swing the results away from President Donald Trump and in favor of Joe Biden, Republican-led state legislatures across the country have introduced numerous bills aimed at cracking down on fraudulent voting practices, including vote-by-mail, ballot “drop-boxes,” and ballot-harvesting, amongst others. Many of these practices were unilaterally implemented by Democratic governors, secretaries of state, or election officials without the approval of state legislatures in the months prior to the 2020 election, with the coronavirus pandemic being used as the excuse for implementing these methods.
The bill now heads to the evenly-divided United States Senate, where Republicans are just as opposed to the bill as House Republicans were. Even several moderate Democrats have questioned the integrity of the bill, thus putting its future in doubt.