Eric Holder Issues Statement Ahead of 58th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

August 4, 2023

Washington, D.C. – Today, Eric H. Holder Jr., the 82nd Attorney General of the United States and Chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, released the following statement ahead of the 58th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), which was signed into law on August 6, 1965: 

“To this day, the Voting Rights Act remains critical to protecting the most basic and important of American rights—the right to vote. Fifty-eight years later, it is still an absolutely essential tool to use in our nation’s continuing struggle with racial discrimination and inequality. 

“While the VRA has effectuated generations of progress since its enactment, the consequences have been severe each time it has been undermined by politicians or the judiciary, underscoring the need for a robust VRA today.

“The undeniable result of Court decisions and Congressional inaction weakening the impact of the VRA’s protections is the disgraceful fact that it is now more difficult for too many Americans—particularly people of color—to vote than it was a decade ago. It is also undeniable that, as a result of the Supreme Court’s refusal to enforce a critical part of the law in a timely manner, millions of Americans across multiple states were forced to vote on racially gerrymandered maps and denied the opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice just last year, which illegitimately gave Republicans control of the House.

“Even with some aspects of the VRA intact and ultimately upheld by a very conservative Supreme Court, racially discriminatory maps are still being drawn as part of a continuous effort to challenge the strength of the law and dilute the power of the vote. This is not new—in fact, it follows a reprehensible pattern of behavior we have seen in parts of the nation since Reconstruction.  

“The events in Alabama this summer are proof that the VRA will continue to be tested, and that the judiciary must be unwavering in its obligation to enforce the law’s critical protections for justice to ultimately prevail. 

“Many sacrificed so much—including their lives—for the right to vote, and it is now our generation’s time to fight to protect that right at every turn, including by calling on Congress to recommit to the full restoration of the VRA’s protections by passing legislation, such as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. 

“Today, the struggle continues, but as heroes like John Lewis demonstrated to us, we must fight for our democracy in every way possible in order to protect and strengthen it.”