On Sunday, March 7, 1965, time stood still and blood flowed as brave and righteous Americans sought to cross a bridge named after a Klansman in Selma, Alabama, to reach the other side of Justice. Led by the late John Lewis, they marched for their sacred right to vote. Their heroism was met with batons and tear gas. They were beaten, but not defeated. Their sheer courage forced America to look in the mirror and Congress to act. Soon after, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
But over time, the force of this revolutionary law has been weakened not by brute force, but by insidious court decisions. Today, we see states across the country proposing or enacting laws that make it harder to vote and make that vote count — an onslaught of deeply dangerous efforts to suppress the vote and overturn entire elections.
In Selma, the blood of John Lewis and so many other brave Americans sanctified a noble struggle. We are committed to honoring that legacy by passing laws to protect the right to vote and uphold the integrity of our elections, including the John Lewis Advancing Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.
My administration will continue to implement my executive order to promote voter participation, increase access to the ballot, and rally the country to protect voting rights and the integrity of elections. Vice President Harris, who marches in Selma today, will continue to lead this effort. The US Department of Justice doubled its voting rights enforcement staff to end discriminatory election laws, as the Voting Rights Act of 1965 authorized it to do. And I will continue to use every tool at my disposal to strengthen our democracy and keep America’s promise alive for all Americans.
The battle for America’s soul has many fronts. The right to vote is the most fundamental.