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Fifty-Five Years After Passage of Voting Rights Act, No One Should Risk Their Lives to Cast Their Ballot

Statement of Aquene Freechild, Co-Director, Public Citizen’s Democracy is For People Campaign

Note: Today marks the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Seven years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court decision Shelby vs. Holder gutted voting rights protections that had been secured for nearly half a decade before in the passage of the Voting Rights Act. The results are clear: Widespread voter suppression has taken hold in the form of voter purges, longer lines, closed polling locations and discriminatory voter ID and absentee voting laws.

On this important anniversary, we must change the trajectory of voting rights in this country for the better once again. Congress should immediately pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to honor U.S. Rep. John Lewis’s legacy and reinstate the full federal protections Americans had for decades at the polls. All Americans have the right to be able to cast their vote and have it counted.

We also must ensure that our voting rights and election security are protected during the pandemic. Congress must pass $3.6 billion in funding now to provide state and local officials the resources they need to ensure safe in-person voting, expanded early voting and vote-by-mail options for every voter.

No one should risk their lives to cast their ballot this November.