Senate Republicans again blocked a voting rights bill Wednesday that would strengthen the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The chamber voted 50-49 in favor of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, 10 votes shy of the 60 needed to advance the bill. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer voted against it so he’d have the option of bringing the legislation back up in the future. Republicans also blocked an earlier version of the bill — the Freedom to Vote Act — in October.
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, named after the congressman and civil rights activist from Alabama, was passed by the House in August. The bill seeks to strengthen the 1965 Voting Rights Act that has been weakened by a pair of Supreme Court rulings. If signed into law the bill would restore the Justice Department’s ability to block certain jurisdictions with a history of voter discrimination from altering their voting rules, after the Supreme Court in 2013 ruled the method used to implement the provision was outdated.
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