From Staff Reports
MONTGOMERY– Secretary of State John Merrill is joining members of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) to commemorate today as the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, which was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on August 6, 1965.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed discriminatory voting practices, such as literacy tests and poll taxes, which were adopted after the Civil War to prevent African-Americans from registering and exercising their right to vote. It also established new legal protections for minority voters at the polls.
“The state of Alabama and her people played pivotal roles and were featured in defining moments in the civil rights movement,” Secretary Merrill said. “It is because of the courage shown in Selma, Alabama, that we have made progress not only as a state, but a Nation. The passage of the Voting Rights Act has allowed us to make significant steps toward voting equality. As Secretary of State, I will continue to remind our citizens the importance of exercising their right to vote, and I will work to ensure that all eligible Alabamians can exercise their right to vote.”
In addition to commemorating the Voting Rights Act, Secretary Merrill will honor civil rights attorney Fred Gray, on August 12, 2015. Mr. Gray led a number of key cases in the state of Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement including serving as attorney to Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The NASS Elections Committee is dedicated to educating and informing members about state election administration practices and laws, as well as tracking proposed federal legislation and the activities of other federal government entities. The NASS Voter Participation Committee is devoted to identifying state strategies for increasing or enhancing practices on voter education and outreach, as well as serving as a clearinghouse for information on voter participation and civics outreach programs.