|Are you registered to vote?
I was born in Louisiana at a time when, if you had the wrong skin color and tried to register to vote or cast a ballot, you might be forced to pass a literacy test, pay a poll tax, or even face the threat of physical violence.
51 years ago today, that changed dramatically when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law.
It was a profound victory for families like mine — and it’s why I celebrate this anniversary every year, and why I hope you’ll join with me to commit to exercising this hard-won right on Election Day.
I’ve made it my life’s work to fight alongside the Democratic Party to protect the right to vote against efforts to erect new barriers.
I wish it was a fight we weren’t still fighting in the year 2016 — but in the three years since the Supreme Court profoundly weakened the protections of the VRA in Shelby County v. Holder, Republican-led state legislatures across the country have set to work making it harder for the folks the law used to protect to vote.
By rolling back early voting, eliminating same-day registration, implementing new photo ID laws, and more, Republican politicians are systematically targeting women, communities of color, working families, students, first-generation Americans, the elderly — all people who, it just so happens, tend not to be the ones supporting the GOP on Election Day.
The good news is, with a string of recent rulings across the nation, our courts are stepping up and striking down these laws one by one by calling them out for what they really are — partisan ploys to disenfranchise voters inclined to support Democrats.
Each decision has been a step in the right direction, but we still have our work cut out for us. Democrats believe that we are stronger together, and stronger when every voice can be heard at the ballot box.
Thomas, join me today in committing to vote for leaders who share that belief and will continue fighting alongside us:
Thanks for being part of this,