DNC National Director of Voter Expansion’s statement on the Anniversary of the 15th Amendment

WASHINGTON – DNC National Director of Voter Expansion Pratt Wiley released the following statement on the 146th anniversary of the ratification of the 15th Amendment:

“Today marks the anniversary of the ratification of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution, which for the first time prohibited state and federal governments from denying citizens the right to vote based on race. Despite that clear constitutional expansion of voting rights, it took another century, three more constitutional amendments, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to fulfill the promise of the 15th Amendment and to finally do away with poll taxes, literacy tests, arbitrary and unfair registration practices and violence towards citizens seeking to exercise their rights.

“Sadly, the work must continue.  2016 will be the first presidential election where many voters face new barriers such as the elimination of same-day registration, the reduction of early voting, and the imposition of strict photo ID laws in states like North Carolina, Wisconsin, Ohio, New Hampshire and at least 10 other states.  These laws disproportionately harm women, communities of color, working families, seniors and students. The GOP has led the way to pass these cynical laws, not to secure our democracy, but to disenfranchise voters for partisan gain.   

“By contrast, the Democratic Party is committed to expanding access to the vote. We understand that more participation, not less, is the best way to expand opportunity, bring more Americans into the middle class, and give hardworking Americans everywhere a fair shot.

“With primary season now in full swing, the anniversary of the 15th Amendment is a time to celebrate the achievements of the past 146 years, honor the sacrifices of those who fought to secure our rights, and aspire to continue that fight to ensure that every citizen possesses the most fundamental American right: the right to vote.”