Press Release

ADL Condemns U.S. Senate Failure on Critical Voting Rights Legislation

Bills would restore and enhance portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 recently struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court

New York, NY, January 20, 2022 … ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) strongly condemns the failure of the U.S. Senate to pass the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act. The Senate’s failure to enact this vital legislation leaves the touchstone of our democracy – free, fair, and accessible elections – vulnerable to ongoing assault not only from violent extremists and conspiracy theorists, but also by pernicious state laws designed to suppress the vote and interfere in the fair administration of elections.

“At a time when decades of protections against racial discrimination in elections have been eroded and states across the country are enacting anti-voter laws designed to sabotage elections and silence voters’ voices, this legislation is urgently needed to protect our democracy,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “That half of the U.S. Senate has no problem imposing obstacles that make it more difficult for Americans to vote marks a dark moment in American history.”

The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act is essential to undoing some of the harm caused by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brnovich v. DNC. In that 6-3 decision last year, the court said that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 did not bar Arizona lawmakers from limiting voters’ access to the ballot, even though the Arizona legislation disproportionately affected Black and brown voters, Native American voters, students, and low-income voters. This legislation would also provide protections against harmful anti-voter laws being enacted in states across the country.

ADL has worked for decades to ensure that all Americans have a voice in our democracy, opposing efforts to restrict the freedom to vote and establish deliberate barriers to voting such as photo ID laws, partisan and racial gerrymandering, efforts to limit vote-by-mail and ballot drop boxes, and more. ADL championed the Voting Rights Act before its passage in 1965, and has long recognized it as one of the most important and effective pieces of civil rights legislation ever passed. Last week, ADL joined prominent civil rights groups NAACP, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Southern Poverty Law Center, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice in urging leaders in the business community to speak up in support of legislation that would protect and enhance voting rights.