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SLIDESHOW: Key moments in Voting Rights

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a historic piece of United States civil-rights law enacted to ensure that the right to participate in the Democratic process is not denied to eligible citizens on account of race or color. The law has been changed and amended over the years. Here are some key moments in time that have defined and changed this important legislation.

Timeline: Key Moments in U.S. Voting Rights Legislation
Timeline: Key Moments in U.S. Voting Rights Legislation

A timeline of key legislation to outlaw discriminatory voting practices in the United States.

 

1940
1940

As little as 3 percent of eligible African-Americans in the South are registered to vote. They were prohibited from doing so under Jim Crow laws that included literacy tests and poll taxes. 

 

Jan. 23, 1964
Jan. 23, 1964

The 24th Amendment abolished the use of the poll tax (or any other tax) as a precondition for voting in federal elections.

 

March 15, 1965
March 15, 1965

President Lyndon B. Johnson’s address to Congress on voting rights at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

 

Aug. 6, 1965
Aug. 6, 1965

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act as Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil-rights leaders look on at the Capital Rotunda in Washington, D.C.

 

 

June 22, 1970
June 22, 1970

President Richard Nixon signed into law several amendments to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, despite having reservations about one in particular: the Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1970, which included a provision that lowered the voting age to 18 for all federal, state and local elections.

Aug. 6, 1975
Aug. 6, 1975

The Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1975 mandated second-language ballots in some jurisdictions.

June 29, 1982
June 29, 1982

President Ronald Reagan signed a 25-year extension of the Voting Rights Act. The 1982 reauthorization made Section 2 permanent. This prohibited the violation of voting rights by any practices that discriminated based on race, regardless of if the practices had been adopted with the intent to discriminate or not.

 

July 27, 2006
July 27, 2006

President George W. Bush signed a reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act in July 2006. The audience included members of the families of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks.

 

June 25, 2013
June 25, 2013

The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is unconstitutional. The ruling, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, voids the section that sets jurisdictions that are subject to federal monitoring, “in light of current conditions.”

 

 

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