On March 8, 2015, thousands commemorated the 50th anniversary of the historic civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery. It led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Today ballot access is again under racist attack. From 2011 to 2015, almost 400 new voting restrictions have been introduced and 22 states — most with Republican controlled legislatures — have passed restrictive measures. The U.S. Supreme Court also delivered a crushing blow to the Voting Rights Act in 2013. It overturned critical sections of the Act that required federal approval to change voting requirements in historically racist states and counties.
Since then, an amendment has been introduced that would restore some part of the gutted Act. But it is limited in scope and would require relying on the courts to stop discrimination. It won’t undo much of the damage to voting rights that’s already occurred. And neither will the anemic advisory panel on shortening wait times at the polls set up by the Obama Administration.
A mass movement won civil rights and it will take another one to defend and extend them. The Moral Mondays that began in North Carolina after state voting rights were chopped is an example of multi-racial community mobilizing that others have emulated. Such offensives have spread to 11 other states. Militant organizing is once again critical to halt the relentless assaults on voting rights!
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