In The Battlegrounds: Marking 55th Anniversary of The Voting Rights Act, Democrats Call Out GOP Voter Suppression

As the United States celebrated the 55th anniversary of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, Democrats highlighted the ongoing fight for free and fair voting access and called out Donald Trump and Republicans’ voter suppression efforts across the country. See for yourself:

In Arizona: 

Arizona Democratic Party Political Director Quiana Dickenson: “Fifty-five years ago, civil rights icons like Congressman John Lewis were beaten and bloodied in the struggle to pass the Voting Rights Act, which gave us the power to fight back and build a better, more representative democracy. Today, those protections have been gutted by Republican voter suppression efforts and decisions like Shelby v. Holder, which have rolled back so much of the progress we’ve made. Now, in the midst of a global pandemic, Donald Trump is making partisan attempts to suppress Americans’ right to vote for his own political benefit.”

In Florida:

Rep. Val Demings: “Democrats in the House have passed legislation to restore this important law, but Donald Trump and his Republican allies in Congress are once again putting their own interests ahead of the American people by refusing to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The best way for my Republican colleagues to honor Rep. John Lewis is to support his life’s work by protecting the right to vote.”

In Georgia: 

Democratic Party of Georgia Chair Nikema Williams: “Georgia Democrats know, like Mr. Lewis taught us, that our vote is the most powerful tool we have in a democratic society – that’s why Donald Trump and Republicans up and down the ballot are spreading lies about this election and making it harder for people to vote. While Congress fights to pass a new John Lewis Voting Rights Act, Georgia Democrats are fighting hard to protect the vote at every step of the electoral process, and we will hold Republicans accountable for trying to stop the people from making their voices heard.”

Rep. Hank Johnson: “Before the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965, state legislatures, counties and cities — particularly in the South — could enact foul practices to stop our people from making our voices heard — all too similar to the dangerous voter suppression tactics Republicans embrace today. John Lewis shed blood for the Voting Rights Act, and his legacy had an immediate and lasting impact of making sure Black Americans could participate and be a part of this country’s political system. Now, it has never been more important that we pass a new Voting Rights Act to protect our democracy for the next generation, and honor John’s legacy by voting to get Donald Trump out of office.”

In Michigan: 

Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes: “Fifty-five years ago today the Voting Rights Act was signed into law. Often described as the most successful piece of civil rights legislation, it provided nationwide protection for voting rights for every American. Seven years ago, the Supreme Court gutted that law. Congress and specifically, the U.S. Senate, have an opportunity to right this wrong, and pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act … By not moving this legislation, Mitch McConnell and the Republican-led Senate are once again standing in the way of progress and engaging in one of the worst forms of government sanctioned voter suppression.”

In Nevada:

Nevada State Democratic Party Chair William McCurdy: “Voting by mail is safe, secure, and essential to protecting the right to vote in the midst of Trump’s failed pandemic response. Trump’s baseless lawsuit rings hollow when you realize that he and his inner circle have a long history of voting by mail. Once again, Trump and his wealthy, well-connected friends are playing by different rules, while trying to force working families to risk their health and safety to make their voices heard … With the passage of AB4, Nevada Democrats ensured no Nevadans must choose between their health and their constitutional right to vote. As Congressman John Lewis said, ‘the vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society.’”

In New Hampshire: 

State Senator Melanie Levesque: “The right to vote is a foundation of our democracy. That’s why, more than half a century ago, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law. This historic legislation was a triumph for the voters who were subject to generations of discrimination, and for the activists who sacrificed everything for equality at the ballot box, courageous Americans like Congressman John Lewis — may he rest in power. But today, that progress is under attack. Some politicians, driven by desperation, are deliberately trying to stop or make it harder for certain groups of people to vote. But what I believe is that when more people vote, democracy wins.”

In North Carolina:

North Carolina Democratic Party Chair Wayne Goodwin: “The passage of the Voting Rights Act was a landmark, hard-fought victory for activists and civil rights leaders across the country. But years of attacks against this law have stripped away many of its essential protections. Here in North Carolina, we need those protections now more than ever. The Republican assault on voting rights over the last decade has been devastating to our democracy and underlines just how fragile these rights can be. North Carolina Democrats will always fight back against voter suppression efforts, and the best way to do that is by restoring the Voting Rights Act to ensure equal access to the ballot box for all Americans.”

In Ohio:

Rep. Joyce Beatty: “55 years ago today, the Voting Rights Act became law, capping off a centuries’ long fight to ensure equal access to the ballot box for ALL Americans. In 2013, the Supreme Court gutted a key section of VRA. Now, @GOP is blocking efforts to restore it. Our work is far from over.”

Rep. Marcia Fudge: “Civil rights leaders like John Lewis shed blood to secure passage of the Voting Rights Act, signed into law 55 years ago today. With voter suppression tactics on the rise, we must ensure every person has access to the ballot box. We need the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act NOW.”

In Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania Democratic Party Vice Chair and State Senator Sharif Street: “55 years ago today, we declared as a nation that the right to vote is the central pillar of our democracy, and it must be defended. But right now, extremists like Donald Trump and his enablers are attacking that right for Pennsylvanians … Trump and Pennsylvania Republicans have filed a voter suppression lawsuit to limit voting by mail and subject Pennsylvania voters to predatory poll watching. This would not only put the health and safety of voters and poll workers at risk — it would suppress the voices of Black and Brown communities in particular. It’s nothing more than a cheap attempt to rig the election in their favor — and Pennsylvania Democrats are fighting back in court. It’s shameful that 55 years after the passage of the VRA, we must still keep up the fight for voting rights, but we will never back down when the voices of Pennsylvanians are under attack.”

In Texas: 

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa and Vice Chair Carla Brailey: “Since the Voting Rights Act was gutted by the U.S. Supreme Court,  Trump and Texas Republicans have taken every opportunity to make voting more difficult for Latino, Black and other voters that the VRA was created to protect … Texas Democrats know that our democracy thrives when more people participate, not less … We will continue to fight to preserve the legacy and promise of the Voting Rights Act until every eligible Texan can cast their ballot.”

In Virginia: 

Virginia Democrats Voter Protection and Expansion Director Alyssa Pooler: “The Voting Rights Act was a major step forward in our nation’s long effort to guarantee fair access to the vote — an effort that Donald Trump and his Republican allies seek to reverse every single day. In the midst of a pandemic that is out of control due to the president’s disastrous leadership, it’s important to protect the right to vote with legitimate, secure methods like absentee by mail voting that can save Virginians’ lives. Trump’s insistence of baselessly undermining public confidence in our elections is a real danger to democracy.”

In Wisconsin: 

Wisconsin Democrats Spokesperson Philip Shulman: “Wisconsinites know better than most just how malicious Republicans’ efforts around the fundamental right to vote have been. From passing archaic voter I.D. laws, drastically limiting early voting, requiring a witness signature while still in the midst of a pandemic, to targeting voter purges in majority Black and Brown communities, Wisconsin Republicans have struck at the heart of democracy every chance they have gotten. Democrats remain steadfast in our support of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, of expanding access to vote by mail, and vow to fight any effort to disenfranchise voters across the Badger state.”