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AJR-21 Voting Rights Act of 1965.(2017-2018)

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Revised  September 15, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  September 12, 2017


Assembly Joint Resolution No. 21

Introduced by Assembly Member Rubio Members Rubio and Holden
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Acosta, Aguiar-Curry, Arambula, Baker, Berman, Bloom, Bocanegra, Bonta, Burke, Caballero, Calderon, Cervantes, Chau, Chávez, Chiu, Chu, Cooley, Cooper, Dababneh, Frazier, Friedman, Cristina Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Gipson, Gloria, Gonzalez Fletcher, Grayson, Irwin, Jones-Sawyer, Kalra, Lackey, Levine, Limón, Low, Maienschein, McCarty, Medina, Melendez, Mullin, Muratsuchi, Nazarian, O’Donnell, Quirk, Quirk-Silva, Rendon, Reyes, Ridley-Thomas, Rodriguez, Salas, Santiago, Steinorth, Mark Stone, Thurmond, Ting, Voepel, and Weber)
(Coauthor: Senator Atkins)

August 21, 2017

Relative to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.


AJR 21, as amended, Rubio. Voting Rights Act of 1965.
This measure would recognize August 6, 2017, as the 52nd anniversary of the signing of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. This measure would also urge the Congress and President of the United States to continue to secure citizens’ right to vote and remedy any racial discrimination in voting.
Fiscal Committee: NO  

WHEREAS, Voting is a fundamental right of United States citizenship, which is necessary to protect; and
WHEREAS, The National American Woman Suffrage Association, which became the League of Women Voters, was established in anticipation of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gave women the right to vote; and
WHEREAS, Women at that time believed that they had a responsibility to participate in public debate and to educate voters about the important issues of the day; and
WHEREAS, Historically, Although the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution proclaimed that the right to vote shall not be denied on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude, both legal and extra-legal means, including violence, have been used to prevent African Americans from accessing their constitutional right to vote; and

WHEREAS, Local organizing efforts by a number of civil rights groups educated federal Department of Justice lawyers about the need for voting rights legislation; and

WHEREAS, The Voting Rights Act of 1965 made it easier for southern Blacks to register to vote by outlawing literacy tests, poll taxes, and other impediments imposed to restrict their voting; and

WHEREAS, During 1965, the same year the Voting Rights Act was signed into law, Malcolm X was assassinated, the Selma to Montgomery marches took place, the Watts riots erupted in Los Angeles, and President Johnson issued Executive Order No. 11246, which enforced affirmative action for the first time; and

WHEREAS, The Voting Rights Act was not an end, but was the inspiration for new organizing efforts and a new tool for rejuvenating local movements; and
WHEREAS, America’s finest hour in its struggle for civil rights was when citizens acted together to end injustice and bigotry to secure the fundamental right to vote, without which, according to the Supreme Court, other rights, even the most basic, are illusory; and
WHEREAS, Voter discrimination and other abuses in our voting system remain; and
WHEREAS, In the current political climate, voters must be assured that their right to vote is protected, as many recently-enacted laws potentially disenfranchise voters; and
WHEREAS, the 52nd anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of voting, to start renew a conversation on voting rights, and to critique those who would move our democracy backwards; and
WHEREAS, The 52nd anniversary of the Voting Rights Act is a strong reminder that every American citizen, 18 years of age and older, must have an equal right to vote; and underscores the need to overcome voter-suppression efforts; now, therefore be it

WHEREAS, When anyone makes it harder for everyday people to vote, those actions strike at the very core of our democracy; and

WHEREAS, The right to vote is now facing an assault from President Donald Trump, who has created a “Voter Integrity” Commission asking for information from every state to determine who can and cannot vote; and

WHEREAS, Common sense proposals to increase, not decrease, voter participation include automatic and universal voter registration, a nationwide voting period of 20 days, and repairing the Voting Rights Act after the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, the provision that required states and counties identified with voter discrimination to obtain approval from the federal Department of Justice before they could change election laws; now, therefore be it

Resolved by the Assembly and the Senate of the State of California, jointly, That the Legislature recognizes August 6, 2017, as the 52nd Anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and recognizes the significant progress made by the Voting Rights Act to protect every citizen’s right to vote; 1965; and be it further
Resolved, That the Legislature honors and remembers those brave women and men who struggled, died, and continue to struggle for this freedom; and be it further freedom.

Resolved, That the Legislature urges Congress and the President of the United States to continue to secure citizens’ right to vote and remedy any identity-based discriminatory practices in voting; and be it further

Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the President and the Vice President of the United States, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, and to each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States.


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