The bill which will restore the full strength of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but faces tough odds in the Senate.
Over 200 Democrats voted in favor of the Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA) last week, capping an effort to bring the historic law back to its former glory.
In 2013, the Supreme Court struck down the part of the Voting Rights Act that put certain states and localities with a history of voter discrimination under the oversight of the federal government. Since then, many of those places have implemented policies that make it harder to vote.
Many Democrats celebrated the bill’s passage, including Rep. Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico.
“This legislation will eliminate the barriers to democratic participation to ensure New Mexicans, including those living in rural communities and Indian Country, are not excluded from our most fundamental responsibility as citizens,” Rep. Torres Small said in a statement after the vote.
The legislation got only one vote from Republicans in the House, and it faces a tough road to passage in the Senate. If it were to become law, though, the VRAA could eliminate voting barriers, prevent discrimination in voter access and increase electoral transparency.
The House-passed legislation would return oversight of state election law to the federal government, a move that could stop voter suppression tactics like purging the voter rolls through state voter ID laws. This practice removes otherwise eligible voters from participating in the democratic process.
Along with preventing discrimination and protecting everyone’s right to vote, the VRAA is expected to increase electoral transparency by requiring reasonable public notice before voting changes.
The Senate received the bill on Dec. 9 and has been referred to the Judiciary Committee.