Center for American Progress

50 Years After the Voting Rights Act, Courts Play a Key Role in Protecting Access to the Ballot
In the News

50 Years After the Voting Rights Act, Courts Play a Key Role in Protecting Access to the Ballot

Michele Jawando reflects on the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act and how the judicial system has influenced voting.

On a hot summer day last month in North Carolina, protesters gathered outside the federal courthouse in Winston-Salem to demand the right to vote for the state’s black citizens.

Inside the courtroom, Carnell Brown recounted his own story of disenfranchisement: Brown—a retiree who spent decades sharecropping cotton—had attempted to cast an early ballot in the last election but was turned away because of a new state law that drastically slashed opportunities to vote. When asked by attorneys whether the ability to vote was important to him, Brown simply stated, “I want to be heard.”

Fifty years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act, advocates like Brown are still fighting for access to the ballot. Even though the last two presidential elections had record turnouts, especially among young and nonwhite voters, progress has stalled and, in some ways, rolled back.

The above excerpt was originally published in The Root. Click here to view the full article.

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.

Authors

Michele L. Jawando

Vice President

You Might Also Like