Intern Lobby Day: Advocating to Protect the Right to Vote

NCJW’s Spring Government Relations and Advocacy (GR&A) interns, Katie Manyin and Chana Fisher, spent a week in April lobbying their Members of Congress to pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act! Over the course of the week, Katie met with the staff of Representative Raskin, Senator Cardin, and Senator Van Hollen and Chana met with the staff of Senator Cory Booker, Senator Robert Menendez, and Representative Josh Gotthiemer. 

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby and 2021 Brnovich decisions, discriminatory voting laws across many states are undermining free and fair access to the ballot. The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act aims to restore and strengthen our freedom to vote. It ensures that any changes to voting rules that could discriminate against voters based on race or background are federally reviewed in order to better protect the right to vote. This bill establishes new criteria for determining which states need permission from the Department of Justice prior to changing their voting laws, mandates that states must notify the public upon conducting these election law changes, and outlines a set of consistent questions the court must hear when voting practices are challenged. The bill would protect voting rights and reverse the damage following the harmful 2013 and 2021 Supreme Court cases. 

When Katie and Chana lobbied for the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, they articulated the importance and power of voting. In the United States, our vote is our voice. During Katie’s lobbying meetings with the Chief Policy Officer and Associate Director of GR&A, Jody Rabhan, and Talya Steinberg, she shared how growing up with the knowledge of what her grandfather who fled Nazi Germany endured as a child taught her to deeply cherish the ideals of a democracy and the right to vote that we have in the United States. Chana discussed her personal, powerful connection to voting, stressing the harmful impact of unjust voting laws on the women she meets while working as an engagement intern at Rutgers Hillel. Both Katie and Chana emphasized that priority legislation, such as the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, is crucial for protecting the rights of immigrant, female, and other minority voters across the United States.

During the week of April 15, NCJW went up to Capitol Hill to advocate for the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. GR&A Intern Katie was excited to see this sculpture by one of her favorite artists, Alexander Calder, in the Hart Senate office building!

Katie sat with a staffer in Representative Jamie Raskin’s office to share her personal connection to John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and explain how the bill will protect voting rights for minorities and all voters.

More News