Voting Rights Act Signing

On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law. Forty-seven years later, the U.S. is embroiled in a controversy over Voter ID laws that have been passed in several states, and which critics say could prevent millions of Americans from voting this year. Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson sent out a press statement today, making just that point. The statement read:

“Today, we commemorate the 47th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, a historic milestone in the Civil Rights Movement. So many people died so that we could have the right to vote. I never thought that in my lifetime we would have to fight again for our Constitutional right to vote.

“There has never been any evidence of mass voter fraud in Florida. The changes to Florida’s voting laws are a cynical voter suppression effort targeted at people who tend to support Democrats – college students, minorities and seniors. Shrinking the early voting window and purging voters from the rolls are the Florida Republicans’ latest attempt to disenfranchise voters for their own political gain.

“Don’t let anyone stop you from exercising your Constitutional right to vote.

Meanwhile, Republicans insist the laws are designed to keep ineligible voters, including illegal immigrants, from fraudulently casting ballots (though very few documented cases have been cited.)