Scott Statement on the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

August 6, 2015
Press Release

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Congressman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott released the following statement on the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965:

"The Voting Rights Act was one of the most consequential pieces of legislation of the Civil Rights Movement.  The right to vote is the very foundation of our democracy.  The Supreme Court noted in their 1964 decision in Wesberry v. Sanders that ‘no right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws under which, as good citizens, we must live. Other rights, even the most basic, are illusory if the right to vote is undermined.’ 

“For the last 50 years, the Voting Rights Act has helped to guarantee that no one’s right to vote is undermined.  The law has been instrumental in increasing voter participation, allowing minority communities to elect candidates of their choice, and increasing the number of African Americans and other minorities in elected positions at the local, state and federal levels of government.

“Unfortunately, as we mark this anniversary, we must recognize that Congress must act to restore core protections of the Voting Rights Act that helped ensure increased minority voter influence throughout the nation.  In 2013, the Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder undermined key provisions of the law, jeopardizing its effectiveness in protecting voters. 

“It is my hope that in honor of the Act's 50th anniversary, Congress will work together to restore these key provisions of the Voting Rights Act in order to protect all voters, especially those in states with a history of discrimination."

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