Durbin, Colleagues Introduce Resolution Celebrating 55th Anniversary Of Voting Rights Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and 22 Senators today to introduce a Senate Resolution to recognize, commemorate, and celebrate the 55th anniversary of the enactment of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965.  President Lyndon B. Johnson proposed the legislation just days after the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, during which the late Representative John Lewis was beaten by law enforcement officers while crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge on what was to become known as “Bloody Sunday.”  The Voting Rights Act passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Johnson on August 6, 1965.

“With this resolution commemorating the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, we honor the sacrifices of civil rights leaders and activists who put their lives and bodies on the line to fight for the fundamental right to vote,” said Durbin.  “Unfortunately, far too many Americans—particularly in communities of color—continue to face unnecessary and discriminatory barriers to the ballot box.  Addressing these challenges begins by restoring the Voting Rights Act and ensuring that voting is accessible to every American.”

This week, Durbin introduced a joint resolution that would finally enshrine an explicit, individual right to vote in the U.S. Constitution, and protect all Americans who seek to exercise this fundamental right. 

Since 2013, many States have passed discriminatory voting laws that have made it more difficult for people of color and low-income individuals to vote.  Nearly 1,200 polling locations have closed since the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder.  The country is witnessing a spread of voter suppression laws sweep across the country.  From voter identification laws, to voter roll purges, elected officials are making it hard for Americans to vote.  This resolution affirms the Senate’s commitment to modernizing and strengthening the Voting Rights Act through further legislative efforts.

Along with Durbin and Markey, the resolution is cosponsored by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tom Carper (D-DE), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tina Smith (D-MN), Mark Warner (D-VA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).

A copy of the resolution can be found here