Voting Rights Act

Voting matters. Its power lies not only in the practical, in giving people an opportunity to elect candidates of their choosing, but also through the sense of dignity that it gives to those who are able to exercise it. Withholding the right to vote was a reminder to those excluded that they were not whole; they were un-American; they were nobodies. Indeed, throughout our country's history, the right to vote was denied to those seen to be less than, including to white men without property, African Americans, women, Native Americans, Chinese Americans, and adults under twenty-one years of age.

During the signing ceremony of the Voting Rights Act, President Lyndon B. Johnson modestly characterized the law "as one of the most monumental laws in the entire history of American freedom." Since that day, this landmark civil rights law has steadily and surely defeated and deterred countless discriminatory and varied barriers to the ballot.

Under constant review since its passage in 1965, the Voting Rights Act has continued to prove relevant and necessary to protect minority voting rights by the highest courts and lawmakers in the country. In 2006, Congress voted to re-authorize the VRA, extending its authority for the fourth time since its enactment. Before doing so, Congress held 21 hearings, heard from more than 90 witnesses, and compiled more than 15,000 pages of evidence. Support was overwhelming and the message clear: the VRA is still relevant and necessary to protect minority voting rights. Congress renewed it for another 25 years by a vote of 390 to 33 in the House and unanimously in the Senate.

Check out A History of The Voting Rights Act.

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Lewis Black

This Election Season, the ACLU Won Three of Five Against the Vote Suppressors

By Dale Ho, Director, Voting Rights Project, ACLU at 3:37pm
When voters in three states go to the polls tomorrow, they won’t have to deal with unnecessary burdens and restrictions before stepping into the voting booth and pulling the curtain behind them. That’s because the ACLU challenged five voter suppression laws in various parts of the country in the run up to tomorrow’s election. As a result of our work, three of those five laws are not in effect for this election. Here’s how the ACLU took 3 of 5 from the vote suppressors:
Today in Voter Suppression: Wisconsin Edition

Today in Voter Suppression: Wisconsin Edition

By Faith Barksdale, Legal Assistant, ACLU at 11:38am

Why does the state of Wisconsin want voter ID for voters? It's not to prevent voter fraud--- there have been ZERO instances of in-person voter fraud, which the state's 2011 voter ID law purports to address. Instead, it disenfranchises voters who aren't…

Federal Judge Sees Through Ohio's Bogus Arguments For Cutting Early Voting

Federal Judge Sees Through Ohio's Bogus Arguments For Cutting Early Voting

By Sean J. Young, Staff Attorney, ACLU at 5:08pm

While it may be technically possible for there to be a sufficiently good reason to cut early voting – one that isn't just a sorry excuse for voter suppression...

Voting Line

Four Bad Voter Suppression Measures We Have to Kill in Four Months

By Dale Ho, Director, Voting Rights Project, ACLU at 11:13am

The clock is ticking.  With just four months until Election Day, we’re fighting to stop four voter suppression measures that would keep Americans from casting their ballots.

For those keeping track at home, and for those of you who aren’t…

365 Days Later and still no action. When will the House act to protect voting?

The Most Conservative Principle in American Politics

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:53am

"The right to vote is at the very foundation of our American system, and nothing must interfere with this very precious right." – President Gerald Ford

"[T]he right to vote is the crown jewel of American liberties, and we will not see its…

2014: The Voting Rights Spring

2014: The Voting Rights Spring

By Dale Ho, Director, Voting Rights Project, ACLU at 12:45pm

It's been 50 years since Freedom Summer -- when civil rights activists from around the country converged on Mississippi for a massive voter registration campaign.

Voting line

For Early Voting, One Size Doesn't Fit All

By Sean J. Young, Staff Attorney, ACLU at 12:08pm

What if the government forced all clothing stores to sell only extra-small T-shirts? And what if this happened because some politicians concluded consumers should be treated "uniformly" when it came to shopping options and decided that consumers should…

Vote Here sign

Court Rejects "License to Discriminate" in Wisconsin

By Sean J. Young, Staff Attorney, ACLU at 5:00pm

When I was growing up as a kid in the '80s, many of my peers spent their summers on socially-enriching activities, like playing outdoors. I, however, spent most of my summers in front of the TV, watching daytime game shows (I'm an old soul) and, of…

The author with Representative John Lewis

The Time for Waiting is Gone

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:56pm

Recently, I had a meeting with Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).  I was bringing some youth leaders to his office to discuss racial justice and education.  When we arrived, he starting telling us his story.  We were in awe.  It was a history…

Restoring the Heartbeat of the Voting Rights Act

Restoring the Heartbeat of the Voting Rights Act

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Tyler Ray, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:18pm

Today, The Hill's Congress Blog posted a commentary on the importance of Congress improving and passing the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014. Below is an excerpt from the piece, and the full commentary is available here.

"When the Supreme…

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