Last night, Attorney General Eric Holder delivered his highly anticipated speech on voting rights at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum in Austin, Texas. The venue is of particular significance given that President Johnson signed into law the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
The new photo ID requirements in South Carolina and Texas are under review by the Justice Department so Holder was judicious in his remarks.
I was heartened by Holder's call for citizens to get in the arena:
Only we, the people, can bring about meaningful change.
So speak out. Raise awareness about what's at stake. Call on our political parties to resist the temptation to suppress certain votes in the hope of attaining electoral success and, instead, encourage and work with the parties to achieve this success by appealing to more voters. And urge policymakers at every level to reevaluate our election systems – and to reform them in ways that encourage, not limit, participation.
Today, we cannot – and must not – take the right to vote for granted. Nor can we shirk the sacred responsibility that falls upon our shoulders.
And, in the spirit of Lyndon Baines Johnson, let us continue.
Indeed, this image from the website of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security unwittingly shows the barrier between voters and the ballot box. Sadly, the struggle continues.
The citizen-powered Cost of Freedom Project is answering Holder's call to action. Join us at Facebook.com/CostofFreedom.