08/06/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 08/06/2020 15:43
Washington-Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and a group of their colleagues to introduce a resolution to recognize, commemorate, and celebrate the 55th anniversary of the enactment of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. President Lyndon Johnson proposed the legislation just days after the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, during which the late Representative John Lewis was savagely beaten by law enforcement officers while crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge on what was to become known as 'Bloody Sunday.' The Voting Rights Act passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Johnson on August 6, 1965.
In addition to Feinstein and Markey, the resolution is also cosponsored by Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), im Kaine (D-Va.), Bob Casey, Jr. (D-Penn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).
A copy of the resolution can be found here.
Since 2013, many States have passed discriminatory voting laws that have made it more difficult for people of color and low-income individuals to vote in elections. Nearly 1,200 polling locations have closed since the Supreme Court's 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder. The country is witnessing a spread of voter suppression laws sweep across the country. From voter identification laws, to voter roll purges, elected officials are making it hard for Americans to vote. This Resolution affirms the Senate's commitment to modernizing and strengthening the Act through further legislative efforts.
'As we celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, the landmark bill to end racial discrimination in voting, we must remind ourselves there is still work to be done,' said Senator Feinstein. 'The Constitution guarantees the right to vote but institutional barriers exist to prevent voters of color from exercising that right. Our resolution will remind Americans of the progress we've made, the challenges we still face and the need to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act to overcome them.'
'Today we commemorate and remember those who fought so hard and gave so much for the right to vote and celebrate the anniversary of this historic legislation,' said Senator Markey. 'But we cannot stop there. We must commit ourselves to fully restoring and strengthening the Voting Rights Act, and to fighting any effort to suppress voting.'