The Voting Rights Act of August 6, 1965, has been referred to as the most effective piece of legislation in our nation’s history. Born out of the March on Selma, this civil rights era amendment protects the rights to vote of all U.S. citizens by requiring states that have a history of voter discrimination to submit any changes to voting laws through the federal government before enacting the laws in their states.

The Voting Rights Act was effective for years - until it was gutted as a result of the Supreme Court Ruling in Shelby County v. Holder on June 25, 2013. The ruling stripped federal authorities of the ability to enforce the VRA, therefore rendering it ineffective. Since the decision, we’ve seen some states implement laws that disenfranchise voters and disproportionately impact young people and communities of color - including voter ID laws, gerrymandering and voter purges.

This year, Congress has introduced legislation to restore voting rights protections in the VRA - in a new piece of legislation called the Voting Rights Advancement Act (HR 4). If passed, this would once again provide teeth to the voting rights protections designed to ensure every person has a voice and equal access to the polls.

On Tuesday, August 6, Democracy activists are hitting the streets to show their support for the Voting Rights Advancement Act. Voting Rights advocates around the country will hold candlelight vigils to shed light on the impact of the Shelby decision, and demand that Congress restore the voting rights protections in the Voting Rights Act.

We will be having our vigil at 8 PM in front of the Ames City Hall.

In anticipation of the vigil, we will have a “Sign-in” for League members on Friday, August 2, from 7-8 PM. A “Sign-In” is a time to come and make signs.  League president Linda Hagedorn will supply some poster board and markers, but please feel free to bring your own materials. Come and make a sign for the vigil at the Hagedorn house at 5180 River Ridge Rd., Ames. While it is not necessary to RSVP, Linda would appreciate if you did, just for planning purposes. You can email her at prez.lwv@gmail.com.