Participating in an annual commemoration of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches organized by a voting rights activist group which included Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rep. John Lewis, AOI reported, Clinton noted that she was “the first person who ran for president without the protection of the Voting Rights Act” and it made a “really big difference.” She also discussed the history of the Voting Rights Act, which was passed in 1965 and was reauthorized by Congress in 2006 while she was in the Senate.
“It was based on thousands and thousands of pages of testimony as to why we… needed the Voting Rights Act. I thought it was a done deal, passed out of the Congress, signed by a Republican president, and then it found its way to the Supreme Court,” Clinton recalled.
She claimed that Republicans who wanted to “pull back rights” were behind the legal challenge that brought the 2013 Supreme Court decision that struck down aspects of the law.
“They found a receptive Supreme Court who came up with the most absurd decision,” said Clinton, adding, “They gutted the Voting Rights Act.”
“It doesn’t just make a difference in Alabama and Georgia. It made a difference in Wisconsin where the best studies that have been done said somewhere between 40,000 and 80,000 thousand people were turned away from the polls because of the colour of their skin, because of their age, because of whatever excuse could be made up to stop a fellow American citizen from voting,” Clinton said.
Clinton concluded by turning to 2020 and arguing Democrats need to make it their “mission” to fight for voting rights.
“So, we’re looking towards a new presidential election — thank goodness — but it’s not going to make a difference if we don’t bring the lawsuits and win them… if we don’t register everybody,” said Clinton, noting that between 2012 — the prior presidential election still covered by Voting Rights Act and 2016 — there were “fewer voters registered in Georgia than there had been those prior four years.”