Congressman Cohen Presides at Hearing on the Need to Enhance the Voting Rights Act

June 29, 2021
Press Release
John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act includes critical remedies


MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, today presided at a hearing on “The Need to Enhance the Voting Rights Act: Preliminary Injunctions, Bail-in Coverage, Election Observers, and Notice.”

In his opening statement, Congressman Cohen said in part:

“Throughout his heroic life, our former colleague, friend, and hero, the late John Lewis, often said that ‘The right to vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have in a democracy . . . If we are ever to actualize the true meaning of equality, effective measures such as the Voting Rights Act are still a necessary requirement of democracy.’

“Under my chairmanship, the Subcommittee has devoted considerable time and resources to taking up his call to defend the right to vote, a right that he shed his blood to secure and one that others died to protect.  

“As we approach the first anniversary of John Lewis’s passing, we in Congress must re-dedicate ourselves to protecting this most fundamental right at a time when it is once again under threat, including in his home state of Georgia. 

“Earlier this year, Georgia enacted a sweeping voter suppression law, S.B. 202, with little transparency or normal legislative process.  S.B. 202 imposes unnecessary and arbitrary burdens on certain election practices that are disproportionately used by Black voters and other voters of color, including voter ID requirements for absentee ballots and criminal penalties for groups that provide voter assistance.  It is for this reason that the Department of Justice rightly filed a lawsuit last Friday to challenge S.B. 202’s legality under the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.”

See the entire opening statement here.

See Chairman Cohen’s questioning of hearing witnesses here.

Witnesses at today’s hearing were:

  • Ms. Helen Butler
    Executive Director, Georgia Coalition for the Peoples Agenda;
  • Ms. Sophia Lin Lakin
    Deputy Director, Voting Rights Project, American Civil Liberties Union;
  • Ms. Maureen Riordan
    Litigation Counsel, Public Interest Legal Foundation;
  • Mr. James Tucker
    Of Counsel, Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP.