President Obama Writes A Powerful Letter Defending Voting Rights Act


Obama right to vote
The August 2nd issue of The New York Times Magazine featured a cover story, written by Jim Rutenburg, about efforts to dismantle the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The article received a heavy volume of responses. However, one reply in particular, stood out, because it was written by the President of the United States.

In his response, President Obama made a powerful case for restoring the protections contained in the Voting Rights Act, that was signed into law half a century ago. The President wrote:

The Voting Rights Act put an end to literacy tests and other forms of discrimination, helping to close the gap between our promise that all of us are created equal and our long history of denying some of us the right to vote. The impact was immediate, and profound — the percentage of African-Americans registered to vote skyrocketed in the years after the Voting Rights Act was passed.

But as Rutenberg chronicles, from the moment the ink was dry on the Voting Rights Act, there has been a concentrated effort to undermine this historic law and turn back the clock on its progress. His article puts the recent push to restrict Americans’ voting rights in its proper context. These efforts are not a sign that we have moved past the shameful history that led to the Voting Rights Act. Too often, they are rooted in that history. They remind us that progress does not come easy, but that it must be vigorously defended and built upon for ourselves and future generations.

The president continued by invoking his own personal journey, adding:

I am where I am today only because men and women like Rosanell Eaton refused to accept anything less than a full measure of equality. Their efforts made our country a better place. It is now up to us to continue those efforts. Congress must restore the Voting Rights Act. Our state leaders and legislatures must make it easier — not harder — for more Americans to have their voices heard. Above all, we must exercise our right as citizens to vote, for the truth is that too often we disenfranchise ourselves.


With his characteristic eloquence, the president not only called out Republicans for making it harder to vote, but he also issued a plea to members of his own party who choose not to vote to exercise their right to vote whenever possible.

President Obama gets it on every level. Congress and the state legislatures need to stop voter suppression efforts designed to disenfranchise voters. In addition, Americans need to make an effort to cast their ballots and to hurdle any barriers that Republicans erect to stand in the way of voters exercising their rights.

The Voting Rights Act became a law 50 years ago, but unfortunately the battle to uphold the spirit and the letter of that law rages on today. Thankfully, President Obama has placed himself in the middle of the current fight, and he has raised his voice in defense of creating a more perfect union, where the right to vote is not infringed upon.

31 Replies to “President Obama Writes A Powerful Letter Defending Voting Rights Act”

  1. No new federal legislation is needed (and this was only one sentence in the president’s letter, by the way). The Supreme Court struck down only one provision in the Voting Rights Act — which was indeed unconstitutional, and which was never a permanent part of the Act anyway — and there are plenty of other voting-rights laws available to ensure that the right to vote is not violated. What’s more, the principal bill that has been drafted is bad legislation. For example, it does not protect all races equally from discrimination; it contains much that has nothing to do with the Supreme Court’s decision; and it itself violates the Constitution by prohibiting practices that are not actually racially discriminatory but only have racially disproportionate effects. The bill is also quite partisan; at Senate hearings last year, it was clear that no Republican would favor it, because it is designed to give a partisan advantage to the Left.

  2. The states that have instituted these voter ID laws and use the excuse of in-person voter fraud is laughable. In the first place, actual in-person voter fraud is almost nonexistent and therefore a solution in search of a problem that isn’t there. They then deny student ID’s as proper identification, but allow gun permits, exposing their true intentions behind these laws. These laws are not enacted to protect from election fraud, it is clear and blatent voter suppression of those who would vote for the Democrat Party. Obviously more people of color live in urban areas and don’t have a drivers license because they can take mass transit and parking can be expensive in big cities. Students tend to vote more Democrat and therefore denying student Id’s also helps keep them from voting. Shame on the cheating Republicans. Gerrymandering wasn’t enough. They have to supress the vote as well.

  3. Student Visa’s are common, a student ID issued by a private entity prove nothing with regards to being a US citizen.

    On the contrary a Gun Permit is a GOVERNMENT issued document. In either case if you have one of these chances are pretty good you have a Drivers License, Social Security Card, or other GOVERNMENT issued identification.

  4. Driver’s Licenses, were being turned down as being a “proper’ voter ID. Despite the Fact that one needs a Birth Certificate, and a Social Security Card.

    Fail much Mike?

  5. Your premise is faulty. When people are already registered to vote, they have a card issued by the county’s registrar stating they are qualified voters. Any additional ID is simply to demonstrate that the person appearing at the polls is the same person to whom the voter’s registration was issued. To that purpose, even utility bills have been accepted.

  6. And how do you register to vote? At least in PA you are required to provide your Drivers License #, SSN, or check the I don’t have either box. I personally disagree with the third point. You should NOT be able to register without something, fine no SSN, show a birth certificate when registering, or something government issued proving you are eligible to vote.

    Registered with Drivers License as proof or even utility bill day of when voting, no problems with me. Student ID, fine I guess, but that should not be valid for registering to vote.

    Moongrim – Really helping your cause with the insults. Show up with a Drivers license and un-registered, well tough you didn’t meet the rules. In the states I’ve lived you needed to pre-register and live w/in the county/district whatever for at least 30 days.

    Either way, not sure why i’m wasting my time. Minds are 100% made up here anyway.

  7. Voter fraud is NOT a problem in America
    Myth of Voter Fraud | Brennan Center for Justice

    It is the Republican Party since 2010 have implemented new voting restrictions in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida in an attempt to disenfranchise as many voters as possible under the thinly veiled guise of protecting our democracy from voter fraud.

  8. A comprehensive investigation of voter impersonation finds 31 credible incidents out of one billion ballots cast

    It is the Republican Party since 2010 have implemented new voting restrictions in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida in an attempt to disenfranchise as many voters as possible under the thinly veiled guise of protecting our democracy from voter fraud.

  9. The problem in America Andy, is that Republicans feel that if a voter votes for a non-Republican ..that IS voter fraud.

  10. Cry me a river Whiny Mike.

    You can convince me with a well thought out argument, with empirical evidence.

    You’ve YET to provide such.

    Don’t let the door hit you on your oversized Ass on the way … oops- too late.

  11. Many seniors don’t have a drivers license and a social security doesn’t have a mug shot on it.

    If you do not have a California driver license or California identification card, you may still register to vote through the Online Form by completing the online interview by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on the 15th calendar day before an election. You may find a voter registration application at any DMV office.

  12. Americans 18 and over should be able to vote with minimal obstacles.

    End of story.

    No jumping through hoops to get the “right” kind of I.D. No refusal to register someone or place undue burdens on them. No barriers to getting to the ballot box. No trying to confuse voters about what day and time the polls are open.

    None of that.


  13. Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R-KS) Moves to Purge Voter Suspense List, 20k+ Voters to be Removed

    Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, put forward his new guidelines for handling Kansas voter registration. The measure offers a new location for more than 30,000 voters that remain on the Kansas suspended list: the trash can.

  14. AnalogKid is just an opinionated, pompous, blowhard. He doesn’t have anything else. He never provides facts, links, etc., just his own insignificant, worthless opinions!

  15. Voter suppression laws soothe Republican fears. Fears that they lose elections because of fraud (non-citizens voting, esp. illegals; people casting multiple ballots). Fears of being outnumbered (leading to minorities in charge; increasingly liberal/inclusive social mores).

    So they’re okay with making legitimate voters jump through hoops, just to stop fraud. And if some voters get left out, that’s just two birds with one stone.

    Here’s the thing. Republicans tend to believe that the ends justify the means. They’ve condoned racial profiling, torture, spying on U.S. citizens, the broken windows police policy, and so on.

    It doesn’t matter that people’s rights get trampled. If the problems don’t really exist. If the methods don’t work.

    It’s all good. After all, Republicans aren’t the ones getting screwed.

  16. Am I right in thinking that it’s only one political party that is/has been trying to dismantle the Voting Rights Act? And would that party be the same one who also is against, education, health care, women’s right to choose, raising the minimum wage, and equality for all human beings? Yesssss.

  17. The remaining protections are not preventative. The election has to take place, and THEN, one can go to court to prove discrimination. The election results do not change, so how is it going to be any different the next time?

    On the very rare occasion that voter fraud has been detected, these laws result in the disenfranchising of hundreds of thousands to millions of voters ! The new laws are an extreme overreaction! The Right media tells people over and over how bad the fraud is, and a lot of it is “illegals stealing votes”. It is sinking in. You hear it from CSPAN callers all the time. There is simply no equivalent repetitive Progressive response. (the last sentence refers to just about every issue at hand–it is really impossible to saturate media and keep hammering it into peoples’ heads–Progressive stances are more complex, and that is a big part of the problem.)

  18. The DOJ under President Obama and under Eric Holder’s leadership most certainly combated and continues to combat Republican attempts to institute poll taxes and voter suppression in predominantly Republican-owned States.

    However, it gets a helluva lot more difficult when Republicans on our highest court – the court from which there is no appealing any decision – effectively guts the VRA and turns it into a paper tiger.

    Lawsuit after lawsuit has been filed against States and Republican legislatures attempting to legalize voter suppression tactics. If you don’t know that, then maybe you need to educate yourself instead of posting stupid accusations that have no basis in fact.


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