Tester Introduces Critical Bill to Ensure All Eligible Montanans Have Equal Opportunity to Vote

Senator’s John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act will defend access to ballot box, bolster democracy

U.S. Senator Jon Tester is introducing critical voting rights legislation to ensure every eligible Montanan has fair and equal access to the ballot box.

Tester’s John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would defend Montanans’ fundamental right to vote by restoring protections under the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and take aim against measures that states use to make it more difficult for eligible voters to cast their ballot.

“Access to the ballot box is critical to a functioning democracy – but that fundamental right is under attack,” Tester said. “This critical legislation defends all eligible Montanans’ right to vote, prevents discriminatory voting rules from being implemented, and helps ensure that every eligible voter has a fair and equal opportunity to make their voice heard.”

Tester’s John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act restores critical components of the VRA, including its nationwide prohibition against race-based discrimination in voting, and reinstates the preclearance requirement which requires certain jurisdictions with a history of racially-motivated voter suppression to have changes to their election laws pre-approved by the Department of Justice before implementation.

The bill also expands protections for election workers, polling places, and other election infrastructure against threats, harassment, and violence, and it incorporates Tester’s Native American Voting Rights Act, which aims to bolster protections and increase access to the ballot box in Indian Country.

Tester is a longtime champion for fair and equal voting access. He recently introduced his Freedom to Vote Act which secures access to the ballot box for all eligible Montana voters, shines a light on dark money in politics, and advances commonsense election security reforms to defend elections from bad actors.