After 47 Years, Voting Rights Act Under Fresh Attack

This week marks the 47th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The commemoration of the landmark piece of legislation, which outlawed voting discrimination, comes at a time when millions of Americans’ right to vote is once again being threatened.

“While we celebrate passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, nearly five million people’s right to cast their ballot is once again under attack,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. “Six years ago, no voter identification law existed.  Today, at least 33 states have introduced contemporary versions of voter ID requirements and at least 13 states have introduced bills to end Election Day and same-day voter registration. We cannot let this stand.”

Republican lawmakers across the country are trying to influence the November 6, 2012, presidential election by scheming to pass unfair voter identification laws, purge voters – mostly Democrats – from voter rolls, and impose shorter registration deadlines. The targets of these new laws: minorities, college students, low-income voters and the elderly.

According to the Center for American Progress, the top five states leading the charge to disenfranchise voters are Kansas, Texas, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Florida. Each state has a GOP-led majority and/or GOP governor.

“As we recognize the 47th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, it is troubling to see politicians around the country trying to erode these protections and bring us back to the days when the right to vote was limited to a privileged few,” said Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. “In the spirit of the Voting Rights Act, we must overcome these attempts at voter suppression and protect our American democracy.”

“The Voting Rights Act restored justice, equality, and fairness to our country’s most sacred right: the right to vote,” said Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-TX), Chair of the Hispanic Caucus. “At a time when we have witnessed unprecedented attacks on the right to vote, now more than ever is a time to not only celebrate the anniversary of this historic legislation, but we must also fight to maintain its legacy and integrity.”

Take action. Celebrate the signing of the Voting Rights Act by updating your voter registration or registering to vote here today.