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Pelosi Statement on the 54th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

August 6, 2019

San Francisco – Speaker Nancy Pelosi released this statement to mark the 54th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, which was signed into law on August 6, 1965:

“Fifty-four years ago, our nation addressed generations of systemic injustice and blatant discrimination when President Johnson signed the landmark Voting Rights Act into law.  Yet, despite this historic progress, voter suppression remains a shameful, shocking reality in America today, undermining the sacred right of all Americans to be heard at the ballot box.

“The disastrous Shelby v. Holder decision unleashed a brazenly partisan voter suppression campaign, enabling extreme gerrymandering, disgraceful voter purges, restrictive absentee voting deadlines and excessive voter ID laws that are silencing the voices of American voters, particularly communities of color.  To protect and build on the promise of the VRA, House Democrats have introduced H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act to strengthen the VRA’s ability to combat voter discrimination.  At the same time, the vote is being jeopardized by the ongoing threat of foreign attacks on our election systems, which undermine this core pillar of our democracy.  Countless Americans have fought, marched and given their lives to safeguard and expand the right to vote, and we must continue to ensure that every American, in every community can continue to exercise their right without interference or discrimination.

“This year, our Democratic Majority took decisive action to uphold our democracy by passing H.R. 1, the For The People Act to ensure equal access to the ballot, modernize voter registration and fight voter suppression, and by passing the SAFE Act to protect the integrity of our election systems, require paper ballots and strengthen America’s defenses against foreign attacks.  As we mark this momentous anniversary, we call on Senate Leader Mitch McConnell to end his outrageous obstruction, protect our democracy and pass these critical bills.  We will continue to fight against those at home and abroad who seek to undermine our elections and our right to vote, as we recommit ourselves to building a more just and equal future for all.”