Battle brews over John Lewis Voting Rights Act, as anniversary of March on Washington approaches

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Representative Terri Sewell (D-AL) lead fellow Democrats in a news conference after House passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. August 24, 2021. Photo by REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst.

The House this week passed a major piece of voting rights legislation — the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The bill was brought to the floor this week because it coincides with Saturday’s 58th anniversary of the March on Washington. That march paved the way for the Voting Rights Act to be passed two years later. John Lewis helped organize the march and was one of the main speakers. 

The current bill is also a response to a wave of Republican state legislatures passing new restrictive voting laws after the 2020 election.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Act passed the House without a single Republican vote. It seems unlikely to pass the Senate, where Republicans have promised to filibuster it. 



  • Gilda Daniels - professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law; former deputy chief in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division; author of “Uncounted: The Crisis of Voter Suppression in America”