Today, we remember one of the proudest days in our Nation’s history, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. declared his dream for a better America. 50 years later, we renew our commitment to justice, especially in the face of new challenges such as Voter ID laws and the Supreme Court’s decision gutting a key section of the Voting Rights Act. While these developments may test us, with vigilance and perseverance we will overcome these obstacles on the path to justice. We must also redouble our efforts to create jobs and economic opportunity for all Americans. Together, our progress will continue, and we will one day realize Dr. King’s dream in which all Americans have an equal opportunity to pursue the American Dream.
All blogs filed under Civil Rights
The Commonwealth Court’s decision to strike down voter ID for the 2013 elections is a victory for equal access to the ballot in Pennsylvania. I hope that this decision is a precursor to permanently striking down this misguided and ill-conceived law. From the beginning, this law has been designed to prevent Pennsylvanians from exercising their right to vote and has impacted residents young and old from urban and rural counties. Whenever Pennsylvania’s so-called ‘Voter ID’ law has been held to a test of basic fairness it’s failed. It’s time for the state to stop defending this politically motivated legislation. Those pursing this law need to ask themselves hard questions about whether it’s the role of government to put roadblocks in front of seniors, veterans and ultimately all Pennsylvanians who want their voices heard at the ballot box.
Today’s anniversary of the Voting Rights Act is a moment to remember the courage of so many people who fought, organized and risked their lives to ensure equal access to the vote for all Americans. While we pause to mark this historic day, we must also recognize the challenges that lie ahead. The Supreme Court’s decision to gut a key section of the Voting Rights Act has unleashed a tidal wave of laws designed to keep Americans from exercising their right to vote. I’m pleased that the Senate Judiciary Committee has already held hearings on ways to restore Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, and I’ll continue to push Congress to move in a swift and bipartisan fashion on this issue. I’ll also continue to oppose state laws, like Voter ID, that substantially impact the opportunity of residents to freely exercise their right to vote. Why would we want to make it harder for people to vote? Why should we erect barriers in front of Americans who want their voices to be heard? Today’s anniversary is a moment to redouble our efforts to protect the voting rights of millions of Americans.