The right to vote, and to have one's vote accurately and fairly counted, is as fundamental a right as we have in this country. In 1965, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, one of the most effective civil rights laws ever enacted. The Act immediately outlawed the worst Jim Crow laws in the South, such as literacy tests and other devices that kept black citizens out of the voting booth.
Today, however, the hard won gains of the civil rights movement, and the Voting Rights Act, are in danger of being extinguished. It is now abundantly clear, for instance, that this precious right was repeatedly violated in the contested Presidential election of 2000. In the state of Florida and at polling booths across the country, flaws in the voting system disproportionately affected people of color, effectively excluding them from the voting process.
As the Voting Rights Act comes up for Reauthorization by Congress in 2007, we look forward to working with elected officials on both sides of the isle to ensure that the right to vote is protected.