On May 8, 2021, a coalition of voting rights advocates and groups will take part in a John Lewis National Day of Action to generate public support for restoring the effectiveness of the Voting Rights Act and address one of the greatest obstacles to the passage of civil and voting rights – the filibuster!

The Focus

  • HR1 /S1 – The For the People Act
  • HR 4 – The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act
  • HR 51/S51 – Washington D.C. Admission Act (DC Statehood)
  • Addressing the Filibuster

HR1, the For the People Act, passed the House on March 3 and was introduced in the Senate as S1. It is now time for the Senate to act!

HR 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, originally passed the House in the last Congress, only to die in the Senate. The bill has now been renamed the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, in honor of the late civil rights icon and congressman, and is currently being revamped in committee in the House. Technically, the bill would restore the preclearance formula to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Practically, it would strengthen voting rights for all Americans, by expanding and strengthening the government’s ability to respond to voting discrimination. It also fits together perfectly with the For the People Act, working together to reform our democracy and protect the right to vote.

HR51, the Washington D.C. Admission Act,  passed the House and was sent to the sent to the Senate on April 22.

The biggest obstacle to getting these critical democracy reform through the Senate is the Jim Crow-era blocking mechanism known as the filbuster. We must change or eliminate the filbuster in order the let the majority enact critical legislation.

How to Participate

The Voting Rights coalition has organized “Votercades” in over 100 cities, to call attention to these crucial democracy reforms. There are events scheduled in Charlotte and other cities in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, but currently none in WNC, so we are participating virtually!

Here’s how to show your support:

  1. Write and call Senators Tillis and Burr and urge them to pass HR1/S1, the For the People Act, and to support HR51 for D.C.  Statehood. Also tell them you strongly support the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and are counting on them to support this when it gets to the Senate later this year.
    1. Sen. Thom Tillis – Email here & call (202) 224-6342
    2. Sen. Richard Burr – Email here & call (202) 224-3154
  2. Write a letter to the editor about the importance of passing these bills to protect voting rights for all Americans. Get started by checking this post on how to Support Democracy Reform with a Letter to the Editor, then grab some writing tips in our How to Write a Letter to the Editor guidelines here.
  3. Post on social media about why protecting the right to vote is important to you. Share this video about the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and encourage everyone you know to contact their Members of Congress about passing this bill. NOTE: We will be updating this post before May 8 with graphics and sample tweets and posts.

Background

To learn more about the May 8 Day of Action and other voting rights actions, check out the info and resources from The Voting Rights Alliance.

To learn more about the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, check out the Brennan Center’s excellent (and thoroughly readable) article on “How to Restore and Strengthen the Voting Rights Act.”

The Brennan Center also has excellent info on the For the People Act (S1) and maintains a list of bills restricting voting rights.

For summarized background info, see our post on Talking Points on Passing the For the People Act, Ending the Filibuster, and Supporting D.C. Statehood.