As our nation celebrated the Voting Rights Act signed by President Johnson 48 years ago on this week, we find ourselves as a nation in a heated debate over the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the very essence of the law.
The issues at hand were whether or not minority voters still continue to face barriers to voting in those states with a history of discrimination. In a 5-to-4 vote, the Supreme Court freed nine states to change their voting laws without having to obtain advance federal approval. Section 4 of the VRA prohibited Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia from making changes such as moving a polling place or redrawing electoral districts without advance approval.
The VRA was one of the greatest achievements of the Civil Rights Movement and has made significant strides in reducing the gap between African-American and white voter turnout in the south. While the debate continues, we must all reflect on where we as a country have come from and the fact that we all have a right to vote for whom we will without being unfairly discriminated against. If you haven't already, please register to vote. It is your constitutional right.