- The Washington Times - Friday, December 6, 2019

House Democrats passed their updated version of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 on Friday, aiming to crack down on voter discrimination and suppression.

It passed on a 228-187 vote.

“There are forces in America trying to take us back to another time and another place, but with the passage of this bill we’re not going back. We’re going forward,” Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon, said at a press conference.

The bill would reinvigorate the landmark legislation, which helped guarantee voting rights for millions of people who’d faced discriminatory barriers, by increasing federal oversight in vetting voting change. Originally, locations that were found to have history of voter discrimination would be required to submit any voting changes to the Justice Department or federal court to get approval.

In 2013 the Supreme Court struck down the preclearance part of the 1965 law that determined which voting locations were considered discriminatory because the formula was outdated.

Democrats sought to update the law with their majority after the 2018 midterms saw a number of controversies involving issues of voter access, particularly voter-ID laws.

Republicans slammed the bill as an unnecessary power grab over local elections.

Rep. Doug Collins, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, also criticized them for pushing the bill through even as the House is in the midst of impeachment proceedings.

“Democrats continue to, at this break neck speed, of everything else we have going on and now today a partisan bill comes to the floor to prevent states from running their own state and local elections when we are dealing with impeachment and discussing elections at the same time,” the Georgia Republican said.

The bill, like many others approved by the House, is likely to be dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled Senate.

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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