Statement from Jana Morgan, Director of the Declaration for American Democracy – a coalition of over 160 organizations from the labor, racial justice, voting rights, faith, environmental, women’s rights, good government, and many other important communities – on the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act:
“Today we celebrate the 55th year since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, enfranchising millions of Americans, primarily BIPOC, who had previously been denied access to the ballot because of racially discriminatory laws. However, the U.S. Supreme Court’s gutting of this important piece of legislation in 2013 (Shelby County V. Holder) set voter rights and the state of our democracy back decades.
Today, as we recognize the momentous anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, we can’t forget those who are still being systematically disenfranchised and excluded from our democracy. The significant barriers to voting that millions of Americans, especially people of color, as well as voters with disabilities, the elderly, low-income families and other groups that have historically been marginalized, have already faced as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In order to preserve the integrity of our elections and democracy, and ensure all Americans have a safe way to vote in November, Congress must immediately pass the $3.6 billion in safe election reforms and funding.
It is also critical that Congress pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which will ensure all eligible voters can vote and are not further disenfranchised in November. What better way to honor the life of Congressman John Lewis than by having the Senate and Mitch McConnell follow the House’s lead and pass this bipartisan legislation. This is what democracy looks like.”