Press Releases

Congresswoman Lori Trahan Joins Colleagues to Introduce Voting Rights Advancement Act

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Lori Trahan (D-MA-03) joined with her colleagues in the House of Representatives to introduce the Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA), legislation that restores voting protections in states with a recent history of discrimination. 

Five years after the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act, the VRAA creates a modern-day formula to determine which jurisdictions have had a recent history of voter discrimination. The VRAA addresses a wave of voter ID laws, racial gerrymandering, and other voter suppression tactics enacted at the state level. The VRAA restores preclearance enforcement of jurisdictions that have had repeated voting rights violations within the last 25 years.  

“I am proud to cosponsor the Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA) because I believe that the right to vote is one of the most fundamental rights in our democracy,” said Rep. Trahan. “For too long we’ve watched state after state create new barriers to block voters’ ability to exercise their influence at the polls. Those barriers threaten our basic democratic values. This past election saw some of the most egregious examples of voter suppression and should serve as a wakeup call that action is needed. Our work here in Congress to prevent discrimination and to protect the rights of all voters has taken on a new urgency, and I will be in this fight until every vote is counted in every election.” 

The VRAA seeks to restore full protections to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by reinstating the legislative enforcement arm. Specifically, the bill will take into account the Shelby ruling and update the VRA pre-clearance provision to focus on states with a recent history of discrimination. That means that states and localities with a proven history of voter discrimination within the last 25 years according to the new formula would once again be required to seek approval from the U.S. Department of Justice before making any changes to their electoral laws.

There are three ways to become a covered jurisdiction: 

  • States with a history of 15 or more violation at any level in the previous 25 years;  
  • States with a history of 10 or more violation, if one violation occurs at the state level in the previous 25 years;  
  • Subdivisions with 3 or more violations in the subdivision in the previous 25 years. 

Should the VRAA become law, 11 current states are expected to require the Justice Department to pre-clear changes to state voting laws: Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.