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Lowery Launching Voting Rights Project

8/12/2013, 3:29 p.m.
Citing the need to fight back against nationwide efforts that have hammered away at the right to vote, the Dean ...
Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery

ATLANTA, Ga. – Citing the need to fight back against nationwide efforts that have hammered away at the right to vote, the Dean of the Civil Rights Movement, Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, will join civil rights, religious, civic and labor leaders and legislators at 2 p.m., Wednesday, August 14, 2013, at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, to launch a 50-state project aimed at restoring, preserving and expanding free, fair and accessible voting rights.

The event is free and open to the public.

“The vote is the most powerful nonviolent instrument we have in a democratic society and we must do everything to protect the sacred power of the vote,” said Lowery. “There have been deliberate and systematic attempts at the state level to make it harder for voters to participate. We must put an immediate stop to this or lose any gains we have made since the Civil Rights movement and passage of the Voting Rights Act.”

Lowery will join Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams and other speakers in Atlanta, where the city’s citizens played a prominent role in the civil rights movement, to kick off the 50-state Voting Rights Project. The nationwide effort by American Values First seeks to engage lawmakers in preserving the right to vote, even as numerous states endeavor to weaken voting rights protections.

Thirty-three states have recently passed or are considering legislation that makes it harder to vote. The Voting Rights Project will seek the passage of legislation similar to the “The Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act” which was signed into law in Colorado this spring, across the country.

“Oppressive measures recently passed at the state level place undue burdens and barriers on military personnel serving overseas, senior citizens, students, disabled Americans, and absentee voters among others,” Abrams said. “Half a century after Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and the historic Voting Rights Act, we find ourselves once again fighting to preserve an essential right. These new attacks are unjust and un-American. It will take a national effort to fight back against this tide of voter suppression.”

Legislators who have convened in Atlanta for the 2013 National Conference of State Legislatures’ Annual Legislative Summit will also attend the event and discuss protecting voting rights in their home states.