One year after the passing of Rep. John Lewis, who spent his life and career fighting for voting rights, a recent raft of voter suppression legislation in the states threatens to undermine Lewis’s legacy. And this newest chapter in the voting rights struggle is only the latest in a series of setbacks, writes People For President Ben Jealous in an op-ed for The Hill. Writes Jealous: “When it comes to voting rights, you realize the past isn’t the past.”
For decades, lies about white supremacy were used to deny Black Americans the right to vote. Now Trump spreads lies about his election being “stolen.” Legislators and governors are using those lies and the anger they have generated among Trump supporters to justify new restrictions on voting designed to keep Republicans in power.
Congress could stop voter suppression, but most Republicans in Congress don’t want to. The House of Representatives has passed the For the People Act and the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019, which became the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act after his death. But Senate Republicans have used the filibuster to block the For the People Act just as Jim Crow apologists did in the 1960s. They are expected to do the same to the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. They must not succeed.