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Public Affairs Programs

Getting to the Point on Voting Rights

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Photograph No. 306-SSM-4C-46-14 (Photographer Rowland Scherman); “Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [Leaders marching from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial]“; Miscellaneous Subjects, Staff and Stringer Photographs, 1961 – 1974; Records of the U.S. Information Agency, 1900 – 2003, Record Group 306; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD

Getting to the Point on Voting Rights

Thursday, July 23, 2020, 1:00 PM

On July 23rd, the Kennedy Institute hosted a conversation on voting rights and heard from former Congressional staff who helped ensure passage of the Voting Rights Act, grassroots organizations that garnered national support for the legislation, and how the United States is currently facing similar crises around disenfranchisement.

The Voting Rights Act, originally passed in 1965, has undergone multiple revisions in Congress. Senator Edward M. Kennedy was a staunch supporter of the legislation and had advocated for the elimination of the poll tax prior to its passage. Throughout his time in the United States Senate, Senator Kennedy worked with members of Congress, staff, and grassroots organizations to ensure that all voices were heard. Despite this work and law, many voters across the country are still disenfranchised.

Moderated by Ari Berman, senior reporter at Mother Jones and author of “Give Us the Ballot,” the conversation included:

Lydia Camarillo , President, Southwest Voter Registration Education Project

Antonia Hernandez, President and CEO, California Community Fund, former Senate Committee on the Judiciary staff

Mark Schneider, former Director of the U.S. Peace Corps and former Foreign Policy Advisor and Legislative Assistant, Senator Edward M. Kennedy

Burton Wides, former Chief Counsel to Senators Edward M. Kennedy, Philip Hart, and Paul Sarabanes, former Special Counsel to President Jimmy Carter

Video Resource