Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act
50 years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson, a Southerner and a Texan, signed the Voting Rights Act into law.
This historic legislation had an immediate impact and has been one of the most effective civil rights laws in our nation’s history. However, the battle for fair and equal access to the ballot box continues to this day.
Yesterday, a voting rights case was decided against Texas by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. And, even as you read this, litigation about how the 23rd Congressional District of Texas was drawn and whether the map deliberately discriminated against certain groups is still ongoing.
Though this question will be answered by the courts in due time — it is still disturbing that, 50 years later, our nation continues to have these conversations.
Too often, elections are decided long before Election Day when legislators and assorted others draw maps or draft legislation that unfairly targets one group or another. This is a big part of why Americans are so disillusioned with the entire political process.
Watching an extremely partisan and broken Congress failing to do any real work done leaves Americans wondering if their vote makes any difference at all.
Bottom line: Regardless of party or ideology, all of us should agree that every American should have equal access to the ballot box. That’s pretty basic. And, many of us have family members who sacrificed much to ensure that right.
Unfortunately, Congress will put aside petty differences and get to work only when the voters force it to — and we should all be willing to force Congress to pass new voting rights legislation that ensures all Americans have equal access to a voting booth and an equal opportunity to cast a meaningful and secure ballot.
It’s 2015. We shouldn’t be fighting about which communities of interest should or should not be given the right to vote. Every American should have that right — that battle belongs in the past. And, with your help, we can put it there.