ALBUQUERQUE - Bernalillo County Clerk, Maggie Toulouse Oliver, released the following statement on the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act:
“Half a century ago, the horrific events of ‘Bloody Sunday’ in Alabama rocked the nation and prompted President Johnson to sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law. I strongly believe that this landmark piece of legislation was the most significant step toward ensuring equal access to the ballot box to date.
“The Voting Rights Act took measures to properly guarantee that the 14th and 15th amendments were uniformly enforced throughout the nation. It ended such discriminatory and unfair practices like literacy tests and poll taxes that severely disenfranchised minority groups since the Civil War, and allowed for the widespread opportunity to exercise the right to vote.
“Passage of that historic legislation must be viewed as just the beginning of our work to ensure equality at the ballot box. We must continue working to ensure that everybody is given equal opportunity to vote and resist all efforts to limit access to the polls. Fifty years later, there are still people who would seek to oppress voter turnout for their own personal interests.
“That’s why I support and have advocated for universal voter registration, full online registration and enhanced data coordination measures to ensure that it’s easy to vote and hard to cheat.
“As Bernalillo County Clerk, I have fought to protect the right to vote, offering easy access and opportunity to register and vote in every election, while securing a fair and transparent electoral process.
“Today, on the anniversary of such a momentous occasion in our nation’s history, I ask all New Mexicans to honor the legacy of those who have sacrificed to ensure the right to vote by encouraging your friends, family, and neighbors to register to vote.”