Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, which was signed into law by President Johnson in 1965. This landmark legislation prohibited racial discrimination in voting practices and sought to ensure the rights promised in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth to all Americans. The Act had an immediate impact with 250,000 African Americans registering to vote in 1965 alone.
Unfortunately, this law has been under constant attack by forces looking to overturn it ever since. In 2013, the Supreme Court delivered a decision that gutted many important provisions from the legislation, which in turn resulted in a return of voter supression efforts that caused countless thousands to be turned away at their polling places during the 2014 midterm election.
“The Patriotic Millionaires believe strongly that voting is a right entitled to all Americans and we should strive to make that process as accessible as possible so that more citizens can participate in our democracy, not less,” said Patriotic Millionaires Board Chair Morris Pearl, “Our government was created to be by and for the people, attempts to disenfranchise any legitimate voter in this country will only degrade the vibrancy of our democratic system and go against the very principles our Founding Fathers wanted the nation to represent.”
“The voting rights act of August 6, 1965 is, in my mind, the greatest example of America fulfilling our pledge of becoming a more perfect union. The act moved us far closer to becoming a nation where no person or group is entitled to deny others the right to an equal voice and an equal vote. And yet, history didn’t end that day. Counter to what some politicians would have the American public believe, we are not out of the woods,” stated Patriotic Millionaire and Chairman & Co CEO of iControl Universal Collaboration Solutions Tal J Zlotnitsky, “As we rapidly become a majority-minority nation, we must be vigilant to resist any measures that may, wittingly or unwittingly, lead the way toward an apartheid state. Making it harder once again for African American citizens to exercise their franchise is not merely a slippery slope, its the road to perdition. We simply cannot permit it to happen again.”
“An ongoing battle in our country has been over the issue of who owns America. Who are the true Americans? Only true Americans could vote and conservative forces have for centuries tried to restrict the right to vote only to those with property, or only to men…and certainly never to minorities,” added fellow member Fred Rotondaro, “The Voting Rights Act is the most recent great legislation to open the real meaning of America to millions more of our fellow citizens. It has been under attack since its passage, but it is more important now than at any time since 1965.”