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It is time to defend, fight and protect not only our civil and human rights but our right to vote by honoring the passage of the landmark legislation, the 1965 Voting Rights Act.The Act prohibits discrimination in voting and provides oversight over elections.

In the summer of 1964, James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan for helping to get Blacks registered to vote. In the sixties, based on race, many areas of the South denied African Americans the fundamental right to vote. Poll taxes, literacy tests and other means of intimidation and social injustices were rampantly embraced to deny Blacks access to voting. The 1965 Voting Rights Act signed into law by President Lyndon B.Johnson prohibited such practices.This landmark legislation remains a critical safe guard to ensure equal access to the ballot while guaranteeing our most basic right as Americans.

Although the Voting Rights Act continues to protect the voting rights of millions of voters across America, minority voters in 2014, still face significant obstacles in registering to vote. Today we find ourselves embattled in partisan activity aimed at suppressing the voting rolls in many states. Attempts to manipulate the law in ways that will disadvantage communities of color continue nation wide. Voter suppression like an infectious disease is spreading.. Let us take heed: the right to vote is one of the most cherished Constitutional rights that thousands have marched, fought, and died for over the centuries. As Martin Luther King wrote from a jail cell in Alabama , in 1963, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" and so it can be said : Voter suppression anywhere in America is a threat to American voters everywhere!

Barbara Nichols

UNA/Dane County Chapter President


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