Shaheen, Group of Senators Introduce Resolution Celebrating the 55th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

August 06, 2020

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined a group of 23 Senators today, led by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), in introducing a Senate Resolution to recognize, commemorate and celebrate the 55th anniversary of the enactment of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. President Lyndon Johnson proposed the legislation just days after the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, during which the late Representative John Lewis was savagely beaten by law enforcement officers while crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge on what was to become known as “Bloody Sunday.” The Voting Rights Act passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Johnson on August 6, 1965.

Since 2013, many States have passed discriminatory voting laws that have made it more difficult for people of color and low-income individuals to vote in elections. Nearly 1,200 polling locations have closed since the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder. The country is witnessing a spread of voter suppression laws sweep across the country. From voter identification laws, to voter roll purges, elected officials are making it hard for Americans to vote. This Resolution affirms the Senate’s commitment to modernizing and strengthening the Act through further legislative efforts.

“We mark fifty-five years since the Voting Rights Act became law only weeks after losing one of its fiercest defenders – John Lewis,” said Senator Shaheen. “As we celebrate this historic legislation, we must recommit to fully restoring its intent. It is on us to finish the work that John Lewis and so many others risked their lives for to end voter disenfranchisement for Black and minority Americans, and all those who have been victims of voter suppression.”

In addition to Markey and Shaheen, cosponsors of the Resolution include Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tom Carper (D-DE), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tina Smith (D-MN), Mark Warner (D-VA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ).

A copy of the Resolution can be found here

Last week, Senator Shaheen helped introduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The bipartisan bill would restore the Voting Rights Act, end the scourge of minority voter suppression and help preserve the legacy of civil rights hero John Lewis. The legislation was originally introduced last year as the Voting Rights Advancement Act. The bipartisan group of Senators reintroduced the legislation to honor Congressman John Lewis.