August 6 marked the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). This landmark civil-rights legislation has protected voters from discrimination for a half century. It is one of the most significant laws ever passed by Congress and it changed America. But today, the Voting Rights Act doesn’t offer the same protections it did in 1965.
Two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted key provisions of the VRA in its Shelby County v. Holder decision, weakening vital voter protections. Since then Congress has done nothing to repair the damage; no action, no legislation . As a result, voter discrimination at ballot boxes across the nation has become more pronounced and we are dangerously close to holding our first presidential election in 50 years without critical protections once embodied in the VRA.
Each eligible American voter deserves to be treated fairly and have free and equal access to the ballot.
The League of Women Voters has fought against discrimination and for voting-rights protections for 95 years, and restoring the VRA is an important step to keep our elections fair, free and accessible.
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Maribel Balbin, president, League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County