Today marks the 49th anniversary of the date the Voting Rights Act was signed into law in 1965. It’s rather heart-breaking to see how the country has backtracked since then, with the conservative Supreme Court dismantling the act in tandem with Republicans finding new ways to keep people who don’t vote Republican from casting a ballot. Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi used the VRA anniversary to call out this injustice and demand that Congress pass a stronger VRA in answer to the Supreme Court’s disempowering of it.
In a statement, Leader Pelosi reminded everyone that at the signing, President Johnson called the Voting Rights Act a “triumph for freedom as huge as any victory that has ever been won on any battlefield.”
Pelosi pointed out that there are far too many people still fighting for their right to vote, “Forty-nine years after the signing of this landmark law, we are still fighting for the right of all Americans to participate in our democracy. In too many places across the country, we have seen efforts to deny Americans their right to be heard at the ballot box; attempts to suppress the vote by raising new barriers, and dismantling vital protections.”
The Democratic House Leader called on Congress to rectify the damage done to freedom by this Supreme Court, “Voting rights are essential to who we are as Americans, to the cause of equality and to the strength of our democracy. The Supreme Court’s decision weakening the Voting Rights Act must not go unanswered. Congress must act swiftly to pass a renewed, revised and strengthened Voting Rights Act, and ensure that every citizen has the right to vote and every vote is counted as cast.”
The idea that everyone can vote, no matter their financial or property status, is inherently American. For some reason, our press has allowed Republicans to couch the theft of this liberty as attempts to protect the vote. And yet, Republican legislation and rules only target those who tend not to vote Republican.
Republicans don’t trust that they can compete against Democrats on a fair playing field, and so they have spent a lot of money and many years targeting the poor, minorities, and women in order to make it harder for them to vote. These efforts are a slap in the face to American values.
A real patriot stands up for everyone’s right to vote, even the people with whom they disagree.