Today is the 47th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
In his remarks, President Lyndon B. Johnson said:
This act flows from a clear and simple wrong. Its only purpose is to right that wrong. Millions of Americans are denied the right to vote because of their color. This law will ensure them the right to vote. The wrong is one which no American, in his heart, can justify. The right is one which no American, true to our principles, can deny.
This right to vote is the basic right without which all others are meaningless. It gives people, people as individuals, control over their own destinies.
Forty-seven years later, states have enacted new legal barriers that could make it harder for five million eligible voters to exercise the basic right of our democracy. The most burdensome change requires voters to show an acceptable form of photo ID in order to vote.
In Pennsylvania, for instance, a new analysis of the impact of the state’s voter ID law found that in Philadelphia, the birthplace of our democracy, voters in predominantly African American precincts are 85 percent more likely to lack a PennDOT ID than voters in predominantly white precincts.
So with the clock ticking, the Cost of Freedom Project has partnered with the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and The Andrew Goodman Foundation to educate voters about the new photo ID requirements.
The Cost of Freedom App is a web-based solution to help voters cut through the confusion and quickly navigate a voter ID application process that’s disenfranchising by design.
The public awareness campaign will be powered by social media, as well as traditional media. Voter education materials will be distributed at town hall meetings, policy forums and other community events.
To get involved in this voter empowerment campaign, send an email to Cost of Freedom Project.