By: Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor

In 2021, 440 bills to restrict voting access were introduced in 49 states. Nineteen states passed 34 new laws making it more difficult to vote. There have been no cases cited demonstrating evidence of any widespread voter fraud. But the main focus of Trump Republicans is on unproven claims of fraud as they question the legitimacy of the 2020 elections a year away from congressional midterms.

With the clear indication that Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) are against changing the filibuster rules in the U.S. Senate, a big battle over the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021 is ahead in early 2022.

The legislation will restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which was weakened in 2013 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Now that Democrats are in control of The White House, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House, voting rights advocates are pushing hard for the passage of federal legislation that would protect voting.

After the 2020 election of President Biden, who defeated former President Donald Trump by over seven million votes, Trump’s supporters have questioned the legitimacy of Biden’s victory but have provided no evidence. Several Republican States Secretaries around the U.S. certified Biden’s election victory. The Capitol was attacked by Trump’s supporters on January 6, 2020 on the day Biden’s election was to be certified.

The issue of whether Senators Manchin or Sinema will support a voting rights exception to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021 isn’t known. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) made it clear that the Senate would focus on voting rights in January. He made the affirmation days after Sen. Manchin announced he would vote against President Biden’s signature legislation, Build Back Better.

On December 23, President Biden made his views on the issue clear.

“If the only thing standing between getting voting rights legislation passed and not getting passed is the filibuster, I support making the exception of voting rights for the filibuster,” President Biden said.

Advocates to protect the vote have been pushing Biden and Congress to move ahead affirmatively for months. On December 21, officials in Lincoln County Georgia, a county that is nearly one-third Black, proposed closing 6 polling sites for 2022. The decision comes after Republicans took over the local election board.

“SCOTUS decision gutting Voting Rights Act written by John Roberts is leading to greatest rollback of voting access & fair representation since end of Reconstruction,” wrote voting rights journalist Ari Berman.

“Republican-led legislatures across the South have redrawn election districts using fresh census data, and the new maps will leave many communities of color in the Black Belt — a region of over 600 counties with large Black populations stretching from East Texas to Virginia — with less political power,” wrote Billy Corriher in “Facing South.”

The battle over voting rights is very likely to come to a head before March 2022.

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October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit www.edwardsforhouston.com

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

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