DNC Joint Statement on the 51st Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act
August 6, 2016
WASHINGTON —The Democratic National Committee (DNC) issued the following joint statement:
“Fifty-one years ago at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act – a law that finally abolished the longstanding barriers that stood between people of color and the ballot box. Over time, the face of politics and power in the United States began to change as millions of formerly disenfranchised voters finally had a voice. It was a profound victory for American families living on the outskirts of hope.
“But today, conservative legislatures across the country have launched a new assault on the right to vote in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s Shelby v. Holder ruling, which severely weakened the Voting Rights Act.
“States like North Carolina, Kansas, Texas, and Arizona have erected new barriers by purging voter rolls, creating convoluted new rules for voter identification, changing polling sites and adding new restrictions for early voting. The authors of these laws and regulations claim to be fighting ‘voter fraud.’ Donald Trump has even claimed that some voters have been able to vote 10 times.
“Trump is reckless, ill-informed, and desperate to perpetuate a Republican myth that we know isn’t true. In reality, voter fraud is not a problem in American elections. And these new laws are designed to turn away certain groups of voters – women, communities of color, working families, students, first-generation Americans, and seniors and people with disabilities – all people who are less likely to support Republican candidates on Election Day.
“But there is good news for champions of voting rights. Just this week, a federal judge in North Dakota stopped the state from moving forward with a photo ID law saying there was ‘concrete evidence’ the law made it harder for Native Americans to cast their vote. In North Carolina, a federal appeals court found that the state’s voter ID law targeted black voters ‘with almost surgical precision.’ And a federal judge in Wisconsin said the state’s restrictive election laws were designed to ‘suppress the reliably Democratic vote of Milwaukee’s African Americans.’
“Democrats will continue to lead the fight to expand and protect the voting rights of all our citizens. We will do so in the courts, in the state legislatures and in the Congress. We will be fighting to restore the Voting Rights Act, overturn Citizens United, make Election Day a national holiday, establish independent redistricting commissions in each state, oppose voter suppression and intimidation tactics, and more.
“Democrats believe that we are stronger together, and that our nation is stronger when more people participate in our democracy. That’s why we will continue to protect the gains we have made over the past 51 years, and to continue our fight to ensure that access to the ballot box remains free and fair.”
Donna Brazile, Interim Chair of the Democratic National Committee
Maria Elena Durazo, Chair of the DNC Labor Council
Don Fowler and Jan Donatelli, Co-Chairs of the DNC Veterans and Military Families Council
Earl Fowlkes, Chair of the DNC LGBT Caucus
Andrew Lachman, Chair of the DNC Small Business Council
Bel Leong-Hong, Chair of the DNC AAPI Caucus
Iris Martinez, Chair of the DNC Hispanic Caucus
Jason Rae, Chair of the DNC Youth Council
Rion Ramirez, Chair of the DNC Native American Council
Steve Regenstreif, Chair of the DNC Seniors Council
Betty Richie, Chair of the DNC Rural Council
Virgie Rollins, Chair of the DNC Black Caucus
Lottie Shackelford, Chair of the DNC Women’s Caucus
James Zogby, Chair of the DNC Ethnic Council
Tony Coelho, Chair of DNC Disability Council