Voting rights are under attack in America. Quietly, gradually, state-by-state, the right to vote – a right that many people died to secure – is being taken away. The Brennan Center released a report that shows that voting law changes across the nation will make it significantly harder for more than 5 million voters to exercise their constitutional right to vote. This should not be happening.
Today, we should be making it easy, simple, and convenient to vote. Instead, legislatures around the nation are creating barriers and making it more difficult for citizens to vote. There is not just one law, but many types of laws that are disenfranchising millions of voters: voter photo identification laws, proof of citizenship laws, barriers to registration, elimination of early voting and absentee voting, and laws making it harder to restore voting rights for people who have paid their debt to society. These laws are a barrier to an inclusive democracy. We are stepping backward toward another dark time in our history.
We cannot separate the dangerous trend across this nation from our history and the struggle for the right to vote. Before the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, not so very long ago, it was almost impossible for some citizens to register and vote. Many were harassed, jailed, beaten, and some were even killed for trying to participate in the democratic process.
The right to vote is precious and almost sacred, and one of the most important blessings of our democracy. Today we must be vigilant in protecting that blessing.
The history of the right to vote in America is a history of conflict, of struggling for the right to vote. Many people died trying to protect that right. I was beaten, and jailed because I stood up for it. For millions like me, the struggle for the right to vote is not mere history; it is experience. We should not take a step backward with new poll taxes and voter ID laws and barriers to voting. We must ensure every vote and every voter counts.
The vote is the most powerful, non-violent tool we have in a democratic society. We must not allow the power of the vote to be neutralized. We must never go back.
More on Voting Rights
“Today, on the 53rd anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) by President Lyndon Johnson, we celebrate a milestone in American history. With the stroke of a pen, millions of Americans were ushered into the democratic process. In 1964 in Holmes County, Mississippi, there were only twelve black registered voters. By 1965, there were 28,500, and by 1984 there were 406,000.
I want to thank my friend, the Gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. McGovern) for yielding.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to oppose this rule and to support the previous question.
In a democracy, the right to vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have. Many people marched and protested for the right to vote. Some gave a little blood, and others lost their lives.
“I am deeply disturbed by the outcome of the Helsinki summit. The leader of this nation takes an oath before God to defend this country from all enemies both foreign and domestic, but this president is not defending the American way of life. He seems afraid to hold Russia accountable for its infringement on the election of 2016.
WASHINGTON – Rep. John Lewis will use these prepared remarks today at the SPEAKOUT rally on the East Lawn of the U.S. Capitol at 10:30 AM. He joins other members of the Democratic leadership, other colleagues, and activists in an effort to persuade this Congress to repair the Voting Rights Act. Hailed as the most effective voting access tool this nation has ever employed, the heart of the act—the formula used to apply its power to state electoral systems—was gutted by an ill-conceived U.S. Supreme Court decision. Congress has the ability to repair what was damaged.
“I am not certain what more the White House could do to signal its utter disregard for the democratic process in this country. While we as a nation are trying to evaluate why the FBI director was fired shortly after he requested more funds to continue the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, the president moves to establish a so-called “election integrity” commission.
I was sad to learn that Mrs. Amelia Boynton succumbed to her illness early this morning in Montgomery, Alabama. This nation has lost a crusader, a warrior, and a fighter for justice. She was one of the most dependable, reliable leaders to stand up for the right to vote in Selma, Alabama and in the American South.
"I am very sorry to learn that the first African American member of Congress ever elected from Ohio, Rep. Louis Stokes, has died. He was a gifted public servant who brought dignity to the office, not only on behalf of the people of Cleveland and Ohio, but he contributed to the public good of the entire nation.
Across the country, there is a deliberate, systematic attempt to make it harder and more difficult for the disabled, students, seniors, minorities, poor and rural voters to participate in the democratic process. We must not let that happen.
That is why we need to repair and restore the Voting Rights Act now more than ever before. The burden should not be placed on citizens whose rights are violated to mount their own defense.
"I want to thank my friends and colleagues in the Senate: Senators Durbin, Coons and especially Senator Leahy and his staff for coming forth with a piece of legislation to repair and correct the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in the Shelby County v. Holder case. I want to thank the representatives of the Tri-Caucuses -- Reps. Sewell, Sanchez, and Chu--for spearheading this effort in the House.
WASHINGTON (Wednesday, June 24, 2015) – Two years since the Supreme Court gutted core protections in the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder, states and localities throughout the country have passed sweeping laws that disproportionately suppress the voting rights of minorities. These laws have left voters without the protections they need to exercise their constitutional right to vote.