Rep. Clyde's Statement On The 50th Anniversary Of The Civil Rights Act
Ohio has room for improvement with law that ensures non-discrimination in voting
July 02, 2014
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State Representative Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) released the following statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, which was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964, following years of contentious debates, filibustering and dissent among legislators and the public alike. The law outlaws discrimination based on race, religion sex, or national origin, and ended segregation in schools, the workplace and public accommodations. 

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a sweeping piece of legislation that changed the landscape of American culture and brought our country in line with the Constitution. Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides that all voters be subject to the same voter registration requirements, paving the way for the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. Following decades of literacy tests, poll taxes, violence and retaliation against minority voters for exercising their right to vote, the provisions of the Civil Rights Act that affected voting and codified equal access to the ballot changed the course of history and made it possible for millions of Americans to exercise this most fundamental of rights.

“It is unconscionable to think that fifty years later many of the problems addressed by the Civil Rights Act persist, and that we have seen backwards movement on many issues. Nowhere is this more evident than in our state’s assault on voting rights. The literacy tests and poll taxes of decades past have been replaced with more insidious tactics like long bus rides to polling places in many cities, long lines on Election Day, intimidating billboards in minority neighborhoods, cuts to Sunday voting targeting Souls to the Polls voters, confusing absentee ballot requirements and voters being arbitrarily purged from the rolls.

“Ohio’s lawmakers and leaders should take stock of the importance of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its legacy of expanding access to the ballot and work towards compliance with this important law.”

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