For Immediate Release

Contact: Marilyn Katz

312.822.0505 |

U.S. Senate Contender Andrea Zopp Honors the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

My grandfather was born and raised in Mississippi, the son of a former slave. Although he was able to provide for himself and his family, he was always denied something he wanted very dearly: the right to vote. Election officials told him that he could only register to vote if he could recite the Bill of Rights from memory. My grandfather was one of many Americans who suffered the historic and systemic voter discrimination that plagued our nation throughout most of the 20th Century.

Fifty years ago today, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed into law. This groundbreaking legislation was instrumental in ending that discrimination, and protecting the fundamental right to vote. As we reflect on this historic day and on the progress that has been made, we must also acknowledge the numerous attacks on the right to vote across the country in recent years. In 2013, a Supreme Court decision gutted the Voting Rights Act, leading to a flood of ill-conceived, restrictive voting laws across the country.

Just yesterday, a federal appeals court found that voter ID laws in Texas were discriminatory towards African Americans and Hispanics. This means that as recently as 2014, voter discrimination was alive and well. Its effects are harshest on minorities, senior citizens, and working class Americans.

Unfortunately, Congress hasn't taken action. The Voting Rights Advancement Act, a bill that will strengthen the Voting Rights Act and restore the damage done by the Supreme Court, has not even been heard in a Congressional subcommittee. That is simply unacceptable. It is time to restore the protections of the right to vote. I urge Congress to take action now to strengthen the right to vote by passing the Voting Rights Advancement Act.

My grandfather died never being able to vote. As a U.S. Senator, I’ll fight to make sure no American will ever say that again.