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Updating the Voting Rights Act 50 Years Later

50 years after the Voting Rights Act was signed into law, Congress needs to ensure that voting is accessible to all Americans as communities of color continue to grow in the United States.

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The right to vote is one of the hallmarks of American democracy, as well as one of the most sacred rights granted to U.S. citizens. The power of the ballot box is one of great importance, allowing citizens to choose their leaders and preventing those leaders from forgetting the people that they represent.

Today marks 50 years since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, or VRA, into law. This bipartisan legislation was meant to protect people of color, particularly African Americans, from a long history of discrimination and violence around voting in elections. While the use of poll taxes and literacy tests are long gone in various states, the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Shelby County v. Holder decision has made voting more difficult. As we honor one of the most significant pieces of civil rights legislation in U.S. history, we must all remain aware that the voting rights of Americans throughout the country are not as secure as they once were.

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