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The following is a statement from Elisabeth MacNamara, President, League of Women Voters of the U.S.:
Washington, DC – “We are so pleased that Attorney General Holder appeared before the American voters tonight in the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum to tackle head-on, the growing momentum behind anti-voter laws. It was President Johnson that signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law, and at the time 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.’
“These anti-voter laws are passing state legislatures at an alarming rate. They are cloaked as an attempt to bring integrity to our elections systems yet many are now seeing them for what they really are: an assault on voters and one of the greatest self-inflicted threats to our democracy in our lifetimes. The new laws threaten to silence the voices of those least heard and rarely listened to in this country – the poor, the elderly, racial and ethnic minorities, the young and persons with disabilities.
“While we applaud Mr. Holder’s speech, we are disappointed in the Department of Justice’s record on voting rights enforcement. The League of Women Voters calls on the DOJ to act more forcefully and without delay to ensure fair elections in 2012. The voters are depending on Mr. Holder and DOJ for real action on their behalf. Born out of a movement to expand the franchise, the League of Women Voters continues to fight to protect the foundation of our democracy and will continue to work to ensure every eligible voter is allowed to vote and have their vote counted in 2012 and beyond.”