Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement in honor of the 48th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act being signed into law:
“Forty-eight years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law, ending discriminatory practices that had prevented millions of Americans from participating fully in our democracy. Regardless of one’s race, color, or creed, every American is equally entitled to cast a ballot and have that vote counted accurately. As a result of the Voting Rights Act’s passage, the promise of the Fifteenth Amendment was fully realized, marking the culmination of a long struggle to break down barriers that had silenced too many voices for far too long. I was proud to have been part of strong, bipartisan majorities in 1982 and 2006 that reauthorized the Voting Rights Act and to have been a sponsor of the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which helps provide local election officials with the tools they need to make certain that our voting systems are fair and accurate.
“It was deeply disappointing in June when the Supreme Court invalidated Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, issuing a challenge to Congress to re-write the preclearance formula that protects voters in states and local jurisdictions with a history of discrimination and voter suppression. Congress now has a responsibility to act swiftly to craft legislation that will restore these protections, especially as some states are moving quickly to impose new barriers to the ballot that could disenfranchise many seniors, students, and minorities. I am hopeful that Democrats and Republicans can work together in the coming weeks, as we have in the past, to ensure that every eligible voter can cast a ballot and to demonstrate that the legitimacy of our democratic institutions rests on free, fair, and open elections.”