Think You Have the Right to Vote? Think Again.

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President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in a ceremony in the President's Room near the Senate chambers in Washington, D.C. August 1965. (AP Photo)
President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in a ceremony in Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 1965. (AP Photo)

When President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, I was there. To this day I remember the electricity in the room — the thrill that everyone at the ceremony shared as the descendants of slaves finally gained the political agency that should have been their birthright. The Act said simply that states could no longer ‚Äúdeny or abridge the right of any citizens of the United States to vote on account of race or color.” Now they would have power at the ballot box. All these years later I am saddened and sickened at the efforts to deny anyone the right to vote. Yet it happens, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 still requires vigilance to fulfill in the face of calculated political efforts made during every election year to suppress voter turnout.

I just came across an encouraging tool for combatting those efforts.

Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, has produced a new infographic on his CraigConnects website that details how voter suppression is happening across the U.S. as restrictive voting laws are being both introduced and passed — approximately 164 laws to restrict U.S. citizens from voting in the 2012 election. Check it out — and note the list of organizations you can join to fight back.

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