CAPAC Members Commemorate 53rd Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

Aug 6, 2018 Issues: Civil Rights

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today marks the 53rd anniversary of the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In commemoration of this anniversary, Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) issued the following statements:

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

“53 years ago, the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 made it possible for all Americans to exercise the right to vote, regardless of their race, socioeconomic status, or language ability. Despite the tremendous progress made through this landmark legislation, the sacred right to vote remains under attack. In fact, since the Supreme Court gutted the VRA with its 2013 Shelby v. Holder decision, states and localities have passed voter suppression laws that have made it harder for millions of Americans to vote. This includes the implementation of increasingly onerous voter ID laws, purging voter rolls, and asking for proof of citizenship that disproportionately impacts communities of color.

“As we mark the 53rd anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, CAPAC remains committed to ensuring that all Americans have an equal voice in our democracy. Congress must work to restore the Voting Rights Act and ensure that all voters have the ability to make their voices heard.”

Senator Mazie K. Hirono (HI):

“As we mark the 53rd anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, we continue to fight Supreme Court decisions like Shelby County and Abbot v. Perez that erode the VRA’s fundamental protections. Congress must act to protect the right of all Americans to vote and to have their votes counted.”

Congressman Joe Crowley (NY-14), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus:

“The passage of the Voting Rights Act marks one of our country’s boldest steps forward in the fight for equal rights, a fight that we continue today. This momentous piece of legislation guaranteed access to the ballot box for millions of African-Americans, yet the forces of intolerance and fear continue to wage an endless assault on this sacred right. The Supreme Court’s Shelby County decision, along with the passage of voter suppression laws in state legislatures across the nation, have rendered millions of citizens unable to exercise their constitutional duty. The fact that the Voting Rights Act stands weaker today than it was in 1965 is a moral travesty. We must pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore the critical protections that have been gutted from the Voting Rights Act and ensure that every voter is able to participate in our democracy to the fullest extent.”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13):

“The Voting Rights Act of 1965 affirmed that Americans of every race have a fundamental right to the ballot box. Sadly, the shameful decision in Shelby v. Holder has eroded that right and made it harder for Americans to vote. Systemic disenfranchisement and purges of voter registrations prevent many - especially those in communities of color, living in poverty, and in marginalized communities - from exercising their constitutional rights. As an elected official, I will keep working with my colleagues to safeguard our democracy and end voter disenfranchisement.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06):

“Today is the 53rd anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA) which was created to ensure that every American can exercise their right to vote. Unfortunately, the VRA has been weakened by the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision and subsequent discriminatory state laws and court decisions have made access to the ballot box even harder. Despite these setbacks, we must continue our fight for equal access to the ballot box. I will work with my colleagues in Congress to restore the VRA and ensure that all voters can make their voices heard.”

Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52):

“On the 53rd anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, voting remains among our most basic, sacred rights as Americans. The ballot box should be accessible to all—no American should be subject to disenfranchisement or efforts that prevent them from exercising their right to vote. We’ve come a long way in making voting more accessible, but we still need to pass the Voting Rights Amendment Act to fully restore and modernize the Voting Rights Act, ensuring equal voting transparency requirements for all 50 states.”

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40):

“When the Voting Rights Act was signed 53 years ago, it instantly became a landmark law in a fight that continues to this day: ensuring that people of color have an equal voice in our democracy.  That is why we must keep working to restore the VRA sections that were wrongly rolled back by the Supreme Court and remain ever-vigilant against assaults on the voting rights of any group.  When our children and grandchildren look back on this era, let’s make sure they’ll see that we all stood up for the right to vote.”

###

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.