Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law. Possibly the most important piece of civil rights legislation, the Voting Rights Act was enacted to provide protections and challenge discriminatory elections systems—particularly in the South—that harm voters’ ability to cast their ballot.
Because of the Voting Rights Act, America has made great progress toward achieving social justice. But we still have work to do. In Georgia, Republican leaders have passed legislation to reduce early voting and established discriminatory voter ID laws that disproportionately harm seniors, people of color, and low-income voters.
Laws that make voting harder damage our democracy. Rather than create barriers, leaders from both parties should work together to expand access to the polls. Congress needs to act on new proposals to strengthen the Voting Rights Act, and our state legislature needs to eliminate unnecessary hurdles that discourage civic engagement.
Voting is a right, not a privilege. And we are better off as a nation when more voices are heard.