LOS ANGELES –  The U.S. Senate today introduced the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2024 (JLVRAA). The bill provides an important path forward in helping protect our democracy by protecting the rights of every citizen, including Latinos and other minorities, who increasingly face new hurdles when seeking to exercise their right to vote.

The act would help address some of the damage done since the 2013 ruling by U.S. Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder that gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act requiring jurisdictions with a history of discrimination against minorities to obtain pre-approval from the Department of Justice or a D.C. court for any proposed changes to the voting process. The JLVRAA comes as a growing number of states have enacted new laws restricting access to the ballot box, including regions with growing Latino populations.

Please attribute the following statement to Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund):

“The state of Texas is about to conduct a second election using redrawn district lines for Congress and state legislature that violate the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.  The execrable decision in the Shelby County case is responsible for this appalling injustice.  Prior to that decision, Texas would have been required to obtain pre-clearance before using new district lines in any election, and the current unlawful lines would have been blocked, as they have been in prior decades. The national implications of Texas using unlawful lines in a second election demonstrate how essential it is to our democracy to swiftly enact the John Lewis Act.”