John Lewis will be a founding father of that fuller, fairer, better America.” --President Barack Obama
There is no greater way to pay tribute to the life and legacy of John Lewis than by turning those words of hope into action. So the League has joined with 153 other organizations to ask Congress to honor his legacy by passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. This legislation will “protect the integrity of the November election and counter the disenfranchisement of communities of color that the nation has sadly witnessed in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s infamous Shelby County v. Holder opinion in 2013. That decision gutted the preclearance provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which required states and jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to obtain federal approval before making changes to their voting laws and elections.” Yet as our nation’s demographics change, diversity, equity, and inclusion in the electoral process have never been more important to ensure fair representation.
The letter also emphasizes the need for $3.6 billion in elections funding to ensure all Americans can vote safely this November, as a way to honor Congressman Lewis’ work in fighting for the right to vote. According to his posthumously published essay, "The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it."
Ensuring that all Americans can exercise the right to vote was Mr. Lewis’s unfinished work. It’s up to us to finish it.
Deborah Shefler, President LWVO