Voting Rights Act: Past, Present and Future

100 years ago, a select and elite group of women earned the right to vote. At this time not all women were able to cast a ballot. People of color, especially women of color, weren’t allowed to vote until over 40 years after the 19th Amendment was passed. And it wasn’t until the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 that underrepresented groups finally saw a path to voting safely. 

Today marks the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which aimed to protect voter rights for people of color and stop voter suppression. While we’ve come a long way since the Voting Rights Act was passed, voter suppression is still a serious issue. And now in the face of a pandemic, we must make sure that all eligible voters can cast their ballots safely and have their votes counted. In honor of the Voting Rights Act anniversary, here are just a few ways you can #IGNITEtheVote for all:

  • Register to vote. Use your political power in the upcoming election by exercising your right to vote. Registering to vote is fast and easy! It just takes two minutes and can be done online in most states
  • Get an absentee ballot. Do you want to vote but don’t want to stand in line during a pandemic? Voting using an absentee ballot means you can vote safely and securely. Voting rules vary by state, so be sure to research your state’s specific rules for absentee ballots and check important deadlines.  
  • Make a voting plan. Registering to vote is the first step.  Next you need to prepare yourself for election day. Know what’s on your ballot including local candidates and amendments. Use this sample ballot lookup tool to learn more.  Then make a voting plan with help from Sophia, IGNITE’s voting chatbot. 
  • Advocate for voter rights. Reach out to your legislators about passing laws that impact voter safety and rights so you can make a lasting impact on your community.  Here’s a script to use when calling your elected officials: 

  • Educate yourself as much as you can. Check out voting resources on IGNITE’s blog and read this note from the late John Lewis encouraging everyone to stand up for what they believe in. The more you know, the more prepared you’ll be. 
  • Mobilize others by becoming an IGNITE the Vote ambassador. Gen Z will make up 13% of the electorate in the general election. Encourage your friends to register and mobilize your community by texting ITV to 33777. 

 

Together we can honor the past and shape our future.  Let’s #IGNITEtheVote!