On August 6, 1965 President Lyndon B Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act (officially known as "An act to enforce the fifteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and for other purposes."). This Act is one of the most significant pieces of legislation that came out of the Civil Rights movement of the sixties. The VRA was crafted to put some teeth into the 15th Amendment.
The 15th Amendment, ratified on February 3, 1870, provided that, "The right of U.S. citizens to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.". Until the signing of the VRA there was virtually no way on a federal level to ensure that the states were in following the amendment. This was the time when Jim Crow laws, violence, and scare tactics were used to keep African Americans from voting.
"Congress determined that the existing federal anti-discrimination laws were not sufficient to overcome the resistance by state officials to enforcement of the 15th Amendment. The legislative hearings showed that the Department of Justice's efforts to eliminate discriminatory election practices by litigation on a case-by-case basis had been unsuccessful in opening up the registration process; as soon as one discriminatory practice or procedure was proven to be unconstitutional and enjoined, a new one would be substituted in its place and litigation would have to commence anew."
In 2012, forty-seven years later, we're facing the same challenge. My friends, voter suppression is real and it's in effect. It's the same game with a different face. Are we up for it? Are we prepared to follow in the footsteps of those before us and do what we can to ensure that we exercise our right to vote? I believe that we're on the right track. I believe that we have learned from the past. I believe that we will get this done.
The two things that have my attention these days are voter suppression and “Stand Your Ground” laws. It just so happens that ALEC is heavily involved in both of them. Now I know that I post a lot about ALEC, almost to a point of obsession. I actually wrote in a blog about becoming obsessed with ALEC. There is a good reason for this. We need to be aware of how serious and far reaching ALEC is and can be.
Get in the know!! Get involved!!
 "The Constitution: Amendments 11-27". The National Archives.
 The United States Dept. of Justice - http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/intro/intro_b.php