Fight for Voting Rights Legacy of Civil Rights Icon

Target: Mitch McConnell, U.S. Senate Majority Leader

Goal: Combat voter suppression and ensure the right to vote for all Americans.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was supposed to deal a fatal blow to voting discrimination on the basis of race. Yet when a key provision that held states and localities accountable for voter suppression attempts was struck down by a divided Supreme Court, voting rights predictably eroded in a trend that continues to this day. During a four-year period, 1,200 polling sites were dismantled across the country, most of which resided in minority communities. States such as Georgia have tried to purge registered voters from their ranks. Tying voting rights to debt has targeted many low-income or previously incarcerated citizens. And when mail-in voting is arguably more crucial than ever, efforts to derail this common American practice are actively ongoing.

Representative John Lewis, the long-time Congressman and civil rights activist who recently passed away from pancreatic cancer, fought for the right of all Americans to vote until his dying breath. From the time he endured a brutal clubbing during a voting rights march until he banged the gavel decades later in affirmation of House passage of the Voting Rights Advancement Act, Representative Lewis recognized the importance of this most fundamental American right. As his colleagues pay tribute to him, they have the opportunity to cement his legacy by finally passing the bill that has languished in limbo for months…the bill that would help secure voting rights for millions of disenfranchised individuals.

The Voting Rights Advancement Act, which has gathered dust on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s desk, would restore guardrails that required regions to undergo a review and get approval before making any arbitrary changes to their voting laws. Historically, many states and counties have taken advantage of a lack of oversight to enact questionable protocols such as installing polling sites in locations deemed hostile to minorities. This implicit approval of voter suppression must end.

Sign the petition below to demand Senator McConnell honor “a pioneering civil rights leader” by ensuring the right to vote for all.


Dear Senator McConnell,

You characterized Representative John Lewis as “a pioneering civil rights leader who put his life on the line to fight racism, promote equal rights and bring our nation into greater alignment with its founding principles.” If these words mean anything to you, pay more than lip service to his legacy. Stop letting the bill he championed for so long—the bill that represented so much of his lifelong advocacy—languish on your desk.

Previously, the Senate and the House came together to support key provisions of the Voting Rights Act intended to end voter suppression…provisions that are now gutted. The Voting Rights Advancement Act would restore these safeguards to the most basic benchmark of our democracy: the right to vote. What has changed since that prior act of bipartisanship? The suppression efforts remain, well-documented and growing more egregious by the year.

Representative Lewis said of his fateful march for voting rights in Selma:” I think we had been tracked down by what I call the spirit of history, and we couldn’t — we couldn’t turn back. We had to go forward.”  Please go forward, Senator.  Resurrect the Voting Rights Advancement Act and give it new life with this fallen American hero’s name.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Charles Dharapak

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  1. Gillian Miller says:

    From what I hear is that the right of American citizens to expect that only they can vote and not non-American citizens has been badly affected by the Democrats. Illegal aliens vote, dead people vote, people who vote by post have it interfered with and the refusal to ensure that people show IDs interferes with this.

  2. Excuse me! But Tiffany White….if you are old enough to vote you should be able to have the ability to register in time and you should be able to know the voter ID requirements. It’s called responsibility!!! Don’t go blaming others for not taking the necessary steps to have legal voting. And if you think vote by mail would be a fair way to vote!!!? Well that is just pathetic!

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