CAPAC Members Commemorate 51st Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

Aug 5, 2016 Issues: Civil Rights

Washington, D.C. – Tomorrow marks the 51st anniversary of the enactment of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965. In commemoration of this anniversary, Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements:

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:

“51 years ago, our nation reached a milestone by granting millions of Americans a voice in our democracy through the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Unfortunately, key provisions of this important law were gutted three years ago in the Supreme Court’s Shelby County decision, and since then, Republicans in Congress have refused to pass legislation that would restore the precious right to vote. Without the crucial protections of the VRA, we have seen increased discrimination against limited English proficient Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, as well as laws designed to make it harder for Americans to vote. That’s why I am proud to be one of the lead sponsors of the Voting Rights Advancement Act that would help to restore and advance the VRA.  As we commemorate the anniversary of this landmark law, let us re-dedicate ourselves to building a country that gives all voters a voice in our democracy.”

Senator Mazie K. Hirono (HI):

“Fifty-one years ago, the Voting Rights Act made real for millions their right to vote. However, after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County gutted this seminal law, at least 13 states enacted new barriers to keep Americans from the ballot box. We must act to restore the Voting Rights Act and recognize beyond a doubt that voting is a fundamental right of a free nation.”

Congressman Mike Honda (CA-17), CAPAC Chair Emeritus:

“Fifty-one years ago, the Voting Rights Act (VRA) enables millions of Americans the right to vote. With the right to vote under attack now in states such as North Carolina and Texas, we must fight so that people of color, people with disabilities, low-income individuals, students, the elderly have equal access to the polls everywhere. The legitimacy of our democracy rests upon upholding the principle of “one person, one vote.” We should celebrate the diversity of today’s America and ensure that every citizen can fully participate in our democracy.”

Congressman Ami Bera (CA-07):

“The right to vote is absolutely fundamental to our democracy and should be embraced by people from all backgrounds. We must work to ensure that everyone who’s eligible to vote can, and that every vote counts. On the 51st anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, we should recommit ourselves to securing our country’s promise of equality and justice to reinforce the cornerstone of our democracy.”

Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33):

“After the Supreme Court handed down its extremely unfavorable decision in Shelby v. Holder, 33 states have implemented laws making it difficult for traditionally disenfranchised communities to exercise their Constitutional right to vote. As we observe the 51st anniversary of the signing of the original Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), we are reminded that the right to vote for many Americans continues to be under attack. As a proud member of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus, I am committed to ensuring Congress restore and protect American’s access to the ballot box.”

Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11):

“The enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 represents a significant time in our nation’s history.  The VRA didn’t just provide voter protections under the law, the bill also solidified the role of people of color in the electoral process. The VRA sent a message across the nation: The ballot belongs to everyone.  Unfortunately, this message was altered with the 2013 Supreme Court decision to strike down Section 4 of the VRA. Three years without voter protections for everyone is far too long. This 51st anniversary, let’s recommit ourselves to continuing the fight for equal rights and ensuring that every American has access to the ballot box. Congress must restore the VRA!”

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40):

“The Voting Rights Act is one of the most significant federal civil rights laws in U.S. history.  The right to vote is a fundamental American principle, and the VRA helped to ensure that right for minority citizens.  Sadly, voting rights are still under attack today, thanks to the Supreme Court's gutting of the VRA three years ago, and the wave of discriminatory voter laws that have made news around the country.  We must act now to pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act, so that we can renew the VRA and protect every American citizen’s right to vote.”

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-46):

“The 51st anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a prime opportunity to reflect on the groundbreaking impact of this fundamental civil rights legislation to extend equality to the voting booth. But we must also reflect on the devastating impact of the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder ruling in 2013 which gutted key provisions of the Voting Rights Act and unraveled crucial federal protections of voting rights.

“Voter disenfranchisement is one of the gravest threats to American democracy. Recent discriminatory and harmful voter identification laws have targeted minority communities and deprived thousands of Americans from their constitutional right to vote. Along with my fellow Democrats in Congress, I pledge to keep fighting to comprehensively restore every American’s right to vote. More than ever, it’s crucial that Congress passes the Voting Rights Amendment Act so that we can prevent voter discrimination and disenfranchisement from occurring in the first place.”

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The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.