SEATTLE, WA – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, a bill that strengthens the Department of Justice’s ability to enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and safeguard the right to vote without arbitrary barriers.

“The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act restores critical voter protection provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled in Shelby County v. Holder that state and localities with a history of discriminatory voting practices would no longer have to obtain preclearance when enacting changes to their election laws. In the aftermath of that decision, areas previously under this preclearance provision immediately enacted discriminatory voting laws that primarily targeted Black voters, other voters of color, the elderly, and disabled people through a variety of methods to make voting more inaccessible, confusing, and difficult.

Congress should be making it easier for people to exercise their right to vote. The wave of state laws restricting the right to vote in the name of election security flies in the face of our democracy. The people passing these laws are the same people who supported Trump’s conspiracy to overturn a free and fair election. Enacting H.R. 4 into law is critical to keep our democracy alive and I am proud to have voted for its passage in the House. I now urge my Senate colleagues to take up the legislation as soon as possible.”