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Local civil rights activists harp on voting rights

The main focus at Sunday evening’s panel discussion was the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement act and its supposed to help fight discrimination.
Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 4:50 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Monday commemorates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Local civil rights advocates want people to think about the legacy King left behind, especially when it comes to voting rights.

The main focus at Sunday evening’s panel discussion was the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and how it aims to fight discrimination.

Democracy is synonymous with Election Day, and the way we know it now could be changed. All in an effort to fight what some civil rights advocates call, “voter suppression”.

”We recognize we needed to understand our own history and listen to the people most affected by that history,” Mayor Greg Fischer said.

The panel of Louisville activists and Mayor Fischer want to see all parts of the Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act reinstated.

Two Supreme Court decisions struck down certain portions allowing states to add voting restrictions, among other things.

”The voting rights act was really all about [and] expanded the franchise to African Americans and made certain we had the right to vote,” said Raymond Burse, Member of the NAACP Louisville.

The state’s General Assembly passed a law stating people need a photo identification in order to vote. If the act is restored in Washington, it would call for the Department of Justice to review the voting provisional change and take the state’s voting restriction history into consideration.

”[Voting] affects our lives, taxes, children, everything, businesses,” Representative with the League of Women Voters Dee Pregliasco said. “Everything about our lives is about the right to vote and who we elect to office.”

The solution activists said they support and are detailed in the acts; expanding early voting access and registration, allowing people to use other documents with their name on in place of a traditional ID. These include things like a debit card, light bill, even a “sworn written letter.”

Congress currently is at a 50-50 vote on the Lewis Act and right to vote; which will go to a filibuster. The goal is to get 60 votes in approval to move forward with legislation.

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