WASHINGTON, D.C. (CW69 NEWS AT 10) — In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing called “Jim Crow 2021: The Latest Assault on the Right to Vote,” several legislators gave history lessons on voter suppression, including Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-IL). “The insidious effort to suppress the rights of voters of color has evolved and continued,” he said.

During his testimony at the hearing, Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) said there’s an urgent need to pass federal bills HR 1, which is called the For The People Act, and HR 4, John Lewis’s Voting Rights Advancement Act. “The highest and the most sacred action that the Senate can take is to protect the right of the people like it did in 1965,” Warnock said.

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The hearing comes after Georgia passed sweeping elections bill SB 202 into law. Democrats say the voter ID requirement, limited drop boxes and other changes symbolize why the 1965 Voting Rights Act was needed, to protect the minorities who are disproportionately impacted. “When the overwhelming people in those communities exercised their right to vote in this last election, we’ve seen a raft of laws that have been targeted toward their behaviors,” said Former Georgia Legislator and Fair Fight Founder Stacey Abrams, who also testified.

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After the 2020 election, legislators in 47 states have proposed 361 voting bills, despite election officials confirming there was no widespread voting fraud. Republicans spoke against the Jim Crow label. “At a time when voters on both sides of aisle have doubts about the integrity of our elections, polarizing rhetoric distorts history. It’s not helpful,” said Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

“We wanted to make sure that any changes we made were mainstream, common sense and made it easier, more fair,” said Georgia House Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones (R-Milton), regarding the recently passed Georgia voting laws.

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Durbin says the committee hopes to rekindle bipartisan support for the Voting Rights Act.