In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) today announced plans to implement a "comprehensive, multilayered, and multifaceted" nonpartisan civic engagement effort in California’s 40th Congressional District this fall.
The outreach effort will give 40th District residents further information about the importance of the electoral process, and about how they can participate in our democracy. The goal of the project is to strengthen a culture of civic participation in every one of the district’s communities.
The civic engagement effort will increase the availability of voter registration forms and other informational voting materials at schools, libraries, city offices, parks, and service agencies throughout the 40th District, Roybal-Allard said.
Given the district’s relatively young population, the project will also focus on youth outreach by working with local high schools to make civic engagement part of Senior Year class discussions, and by using digital media to communicate with young voters about the importance of civic participation and how to register to vote online. The Congresswoman’s partners in this civic engagement effort will include the County of Los Angeles, as well as local leaders, organizations, and civic engagement advocates.
“Elections matter, our vote matters, and our communities matter,” said Roybal-Allard. “For many in our communities, the right to vote allows them to address issues they care about, and to support the changes they want to see in their neighborhoods and their country.
“The right to vote is the bedrock principle of our democracy, and we must ensure that no eligible voter takes that right for granted or is denied that right. We must explain to them why the simple act of casting a ballot is so important to their future, and the futures of their families, friends, and neighbors. When we register and vote, and empower those around us to do the same, the voices of our communities become louder and more influential.”
To accompany today’s announcement, Roybal-Allard has posted the first in a series of photos on her Facebook page of community leaders holding posters explaining why voting is so important to them. She will be inviting local leaders to hold up these posters in English, Spanish, and other languages. Social media posts about her outreach effort will use the #CD40Votes hashtag.
Roybal-Allard also marked today’s anniversary of the Voting Rights Act by urging all states to update and modernize their voter registration systems, and to allow some form of early voting. In addition, she underlined her support for the restoration of the Voting Rights Act provisions struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013’s Shelby County v. Holder decision. In this ruling, the Court invalidated the formula for determining which states and jurisdictions had histories of discrimination that required them to preclear any election changes they proposed with the Department of Justice.
“Throughout America’s history, brave men and women have fought to protect and expand the right to vote, and that fight continues today,” said Roybal-Allard. “Even as we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act, our government is locked in a battle to reinstate some of that law’s most important provisions.
“The Voting Rights Act was the most successful piece of civil rights legislation in history, because it helped protect the right to vote for minorities and people of color. Unfortunately, that right was seriously weakened by the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder ruling, and by coordinated attacks on voting rights around the country. We must restore strong preclearance provisions to the Voting Rights Act, and continue our commitment to protecting the franchise for every eligible voter.”