WASHINGTON— Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the following statement to mark the 52nd anniversary of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was signed into law on August 6, 1965:
“The Voting Rights Act is one of the most important pieces of legislation our nation has ever signed into law, but 52 years later, this landmark civil rights act – and the rights it protects – is still under attack.
Key safeguards have been removed, making way for discriminatory practices that discourage people from voting. President Trump’s sham voter commission threatens to purge eligible voters from state voter rolls, and some are choosing to remove themselves so their information won’t fall into the hands of the Trump White House. Restrictive identification laws prevent many from exercising their right to vote, disproportionally impacting minority communities. The Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County v. Holder restricts millions of Americans from their right to vote.
As we celebrate the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, we have to urge Congress to restore the VRA in its entirety. Whether it means restoring voting rights to those who have been incarcerated, or expanding access to our democracy through automatic voter registration, we must do all that we can to build and maintain a representative electorate. Our democracy works best when more people – not a select few – are able to participate. Congress was able to pass the Voting Rights Act in 1965 on a strong, bipartisan basis – we urge lawmakers of today to follow that example and restore voting rights in our democracy.”
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.