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In celebration of the landmark Voting Rights Act anniversary, Page Gardner, the founder and President of the Voter Participation Center, shared the following statement:
“Voting is the expression of the most fundamental principle of democracy: equal representation for all. The Voting Rights Act (VRA) brought the United States one step closer to that ideal, tackling some of the most explicit state and local efforts to stop African Americans from exercising this basic right. It was a hard-won victory for a generation of civil rights activists, who fought for access to the ballot box in the face of violence.
Four years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Shelby County v Holder case crippled the Voting Rights Act, removing Justice Department approval of state voting laws. Today, the principles of the VRA are still being undermined. Voter suppression laws and efforts are, unfortunately, succeeding in far too many states. And now the Pence-Kobach Commission is looking to purge the lists and discourage eligible voters from participating in the 2018 elections and beyond.
That’s why we are redoubling our voter participation and turnout programs among historically underrepresented groups, and call on Congress to support the Voting Rights Advancement Act that would restore the VRA. VPC is proud to be part of coalitions across the country fighting to preserve what the VRA stands for: equal opportunity to participate in our democracy.”