Preclearing the Way to Vote: A Proponent Testimony for the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act

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The Ohio State University

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To demonstrate how my double majors in social work and political science, I chose to write and present a Congressional testimony of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. This legislation aims to establish a Section 4 coverage formula for jurisdictions that would be subject to preclearance procedures under the Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court ruled that the existing formula authorized in 2008 was unconstitutional in Shelby County v. Holder. If a jurisdiction, which could consist of a state, county, or township, is determined to be covered by the Section 4 formula, that jurisdiction must receive preclearance, or approval, from the United States Attorney General or a U.S. District of Columbia Court before they change any voting practices. I chose this bill because learning about the Shelby County v. Holder case in my political science class is what introduced me to my interest in voting rights. I continued to pursue my interest by taking classes in political science about voting. I then gained the necessary skills to advocate for voting rights through my macro social work classes and my social work field placement, where I practiced voter engagement and advocacy. By writing this testimony, I have the opportunity to apply the knowledge of the history and current practices of voting that I learned in my political science major while practicing the advocacy skills that I gained in my social work major. After the testimony, I then reflect on my experiences in my double-major pathway, what I have learned from them, and how they have prepared me for my future after graduation.