Today marks the 50th Anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Sure, we've made progress. Many of the issues from 50 years ago have been resolved in one manner or another, but others remain. Prejudice may have gone behind closed doors, it may be shrinking in its overall scope, but it still exists. In fact, one of the key goals of the civil rights movement was the right to vote and that right continues to be under attack.
The recent decision by the Supreme Court to strip the Voting Rights Act of a critical provision to ensure fair access to voting has created a dangerous slippery slope. In Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court ruled that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act (a formula that determined whether certain states, counties, and municipalities were required to have their voting laws “precleared” by the Department of Justice because of a history of racial prejudice) was unconstitutional. This decision opens the floodgates for states with a history of voter suppression efforts to institute discriminatory policies such as restrictive voter ID requirements, limited ballot translation for non-native speakers, moving polling places, and reducing early voting.
But the battle for ballot access is no longer isolated in the states that the original Voting Rights Act covered. Today, states across the country are being led back to a time of limited access.
As we commemorate the 1963 March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream, we must recommit ourselves to educating the public about the importance of fair voting laws.
The ADA Education Fund has been working in several key states to both defend against limits to ballot access and also improve ballot access through early voting. Additionally, we have held several public forums and events highlighting Dr. King’s vision and working to further expand the vote. In January, we’ll be celebrating the 5th annual “What Would Martin Do?” (WWMD) forum, which is an opportunity to ask distinguished civil rights and policy makers their thoughts on what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would do today. Past “What Would Martin Do?” forums have been featured on C-Span with all-star panelists including former Pennsylvania Senator Harris Wofford and former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. Last year, we featured video submissions on the ADA Education Fund’s website. This year, we will focus on how Dr. King would have approached the current attack on voting rights.
Help us raise awareness on this critical issue by making a tax-deductible donation to the ADA Education Fund today. Your contribution will go towards educating communities about ballot access, and other voter suppression tactics. Click here to make your tax-deductible contribution to the ADA Education Fund.
Together, we can protect Dr. King’s dream.
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