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Shenita Binns (center) of Atlanta, holds up a voting rights sign as she and other activists participate in a “Freedom Friday March” protest. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

House lawmakers on Tuesday narrowly passed a voting rights bill named in honor of the late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), an effort to combat a wave of new voting restrictions in Republican states.

Why it matters: H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, passed by a party-line vote of 219 to 212, with no Republican support. If passed in the Senate, it will restore portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, giving the federal government the ability to block changes to state election laws found to be discriminatory.

  • The bill faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where Republicans have blocked previous House-passed voting measures.
  • The vote would need 60 votes to overcome a filibuster in the Senate.

Of note: "That bottleneck puts Democrats right back where they started with a slim chance of enacting any voting legislation before the 2022 midterm elections, when some in the party fear new GOP laws will make it harder for many Americans to vote," Associated Press reports.

Background: The Supreme Court in 2013 invalidated the "preclearance" provision of the Voting Rights Act that allowed for the regulation of new election laws.

  • In July, the Supreme Court upheld a pair of voting restrictions in Arizona, making it more difficult for the Justice Department to challenge new voting laws.

Go deeper

Updated Dec 1, 2021 - Politics & Policy

What abortion access would look like if Roe v. Wade is overturned

Expand chart
Data: Axios Research; Cartogram: Sara Wise and Oriana Gonzalez/Axios

Abortion would immediately become illegal in at least 12 states if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade, and more would likely follow suit quickly.

Why it matters: The Mississippi case before the Supreme Court Wednesday could throw Roe's survival into question, or at least narrow its scope.

Advocates see "opportunity" in abortion fight to galvanize Democratic voters

Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill Johnson speaks during an abortion rights rally in October. Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March

Abortion rights advocates believe the Supreme Court fight over Mississippi's strict abortion bill has the potential to turn the political script: galvanize Democratic voters, instead of its historic ability to drive turnout among Republicans.

What they're saying: "The opportunity is that people are enraged," Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood, told Axios in an interview. "What we saw in Texas, and what people will walk away from [the Mississippi oral arguments with], is a level of rage that we could be living in a world six months from now — where our children have fewer rights than we have right now."

Some Republicans fear Roe win could backfire

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Republicans are on the brink of achieving a decades-long conservative project — overturning abortion rights — but some strategists worry that the party isn’t ready for the political dangers of this monumental victory.

Why it matters: The GOP has the best political environment in a decade leading into the midterms — and the last thing top party operatives want is for the Democratic base to become energized if the Supreme Court narrows or overturns Roe v. Wade.

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