56 Years After VRA Became Law, Voting Rights Under Siege Once Again
On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law as a national response to generations of voter suppression perpetrated by state and local governments. Now, 56 years later – with voting rights once again under attack in Georgia and across the country – the need to protect and expand upon the Voting Rights Act is more urgent than ever.
The Voting Rights Act was passed to prohibit states from limiting the right to vote based on race and to ban discriminatory voting restrictions, but Supreme Court decisions in 2013 and 2021 weakened several key provisions of the law that prevent such voter suppression. As of July, 18 states – including Georgia – have enacted 30 new laws like SB 202 that make it harder to vote, disproportionately affecting people of color.
“This nationwide, Republican-led attack on voting rights is the most egregious assault on our democracy since the Voting Rights Act became law 56 years ago. The voter suppression we are witnessing in Georgia and across the country is the same type of discrimination that the Voting Rights Act was passed to prevent, and it demands the same resounding national rebuke,” said Congresswoman Nikema Williams, Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia. “The right to vote is sacred, and every effort to chip away at the Voting Rights Act and our democracy is a slap in the face to civil rights heroes like the late Congressman John Lewis, who risked their lives to secure the right to vote for all. As we celebrate 56 years of the Voting Rights Act, every Georgian and American – Republican, Democrat, and Independent – must recognize the threats our democracy is facing and honor the sacrifices of our civil rights heroes by fighting to protect and strengthen this landmark law.”
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