Josh Gottheimer

12/06/2019 | Press release | Archived content

Gottheimer-Backed Bill Combating Voter Discrimination Passes House

Today, Friday, December 6, 2019, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) voted to pass H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, of which he is an original cosponsor, to restore the full strength of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), following the 2013 Supreme Court Shelby v. Holder decision, which gutted the VRA's ability to combat voter suppression and discrimination. Since the Supreme Court decision, at least 23 states have enacted voter suppression laws, including voter purges, strict ID requirements, poll closures, and curtailing of early voting hours.

This bill will better ensure that every eligible American voter has full access to the ballot box.

'The Voting Rights Act of 1965 made it possible for millions of people to gain access to the ballot box, who for too long had been left out. Voting is the bedrock of our democracy. We should take whatever steps possible to increase, not eliminate, access to the ballot,' said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). 'That's why I'm proud to have voted today to pass H.R. 4, to take vital steps to address voter suppression. It's now time for the Senate to act.'

The Voting Rights Advancement Act reestablishes full protections for voters in states with a recent history of discrimination. Among its key provisions, the bill:

  • In response to the Supreme Court decision, provides a new coverage formula that determines which jurisdictions are subject to preclearance, based on current conditions.
  • Establishes 'practice-based preclearance,' focusing administrative or judicial review narrowly on suspect practices that are most likely to be tainted by discriminatory intent or to have discriminatory effects, as demonstrated by a broad historical record.

H.R. 4 has the support of nonpartisan organizations, including the American Association of University Women, League of Women Voters of the United States, National Education Association, NAACP, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and Native American Rights Fund.