Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

Congressman Serrano commemorates 50th Anniversary of Voting Rights Act

Aug 6, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Congressman José E. Serrano today celebrated the 50th Anniversary of  the Voting Rights Act, and called on Republicans in Congress to restore the Act.  The original legislation was signed into law by Democratic President Johnson on this date in 1965.
“In the year 2015, it pains me to know that the struggle for the right to vote is not over,” said Representative Serrano. “We must renew our commitment to protecting this fundamental right for all Americans.  I call on House Republicans to allow an immediate vote on federal legislation to restore the Voting Rights Act, to update and modernize our voter registration systems, and to require all states to allow some form of early voting.”
It has been more than two years since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, which gutted essential pieces of the VRA and has been called “a dagger in the heart of the Voting Rights Act.”  In that decision, Chief Justice Roberts acknowledged the ongoing persistence of voter discrimination and invited Congress to come up with a new coverage formula based on current conditions.  
“The Voting Rights Act is the most successful piece of civil rights legislation in history, allowing many racial and ethnic minorities to fully participate in our democracy for the first time,” said Rep. Serrano.  “It helped ensure African-American, Latino, and Asian-American voices were heard in our public debates, and that these voices were no longer silenced or ignored. Since the Supreme Court’s decision, a string of anti-voter laws were launched in various states which resulted in the suppression of these voices. Collectively, these laws are a direct threat to the strength of our democracy.  It’s time for Congress to address this threat by passing legislation to restore the Voting Rights Act and expand access to the ballot box.”
Serrano is a cosponsor of the H.R. 2867, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore the power of Section 5 of the VRA by updating the coverage formula, and by providing new tools to fight against discriminatory voting practices.