Selma’s “Bloody Sunday” Anniversary and the Current State of Voting Rights

bloodysunday

A commemorative march across the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Photo via the Japan Times

“There is no way we can get to an economy that works for everybody that produces good jobs, and rising incomes, and inclusive prosperity if we don’t protect the right to vote.”

This past weekend, the Legal Defense Fund commemorated “Bloody Sunday” and the events that happened in Selma at the Edmund Pettis Bridge in 1965 by focusing on the continuing conversation about voting rights. The organization invited Hillary Clinton to the annual event to give her an award for her work. The quote at the top of this post is from her remarks.

Here’s a little more from her speech:

And where is the voting rights conversation today?

Thanks to a variety of reasons, including the Democrats taking the House and launching their efforts to get HR1 (or the For the People Act) passed to Stacey Abrams using her large platform to focus on the issue, voting rights seems to be having quite a good moment.

Since the midterm elections, over 230 bills have been proposed all over the country to expand voting rights. It’s the first time in a long while that bills to expand voting access have outpaced bills to restrict access (like with voter ID, purging voter rolls, limiting polling hours, etc.).

Four years ago, Oregon was the first state to adopt automatic voter registration. Since then, 16 more states have adopted similar legislation and many more states are working on the issue.

For more about the great momentum that seems to be on the side of expanding voting rights, I can recommend this recent article from Governing Magazine: Who Gets To Vote?

What we can do

Protecting voting rights require both fighting against new types of voter suppression that sprout up and pushing on our state and federal legislators to propose and enact laws to protect voting rights.

Here at PoliticalCharge, I cover voting rights news and write about specific ways we can advance voting rights. Subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss any posts. Also, if you become aware of new attacks on voting rights, I encourage you to leave me a comment so I can address it in a future blog post.

In the meantime, here are 6 organizations that actively fight for voting rights. Check out their voting rights efforts for ways you can help advocate with them:
Brennan Center for Justice
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
ACLU: Voting Rights
Fair Elections Center
Campaign Legal Center
Common Cause

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