On Monday, January 16th, our country honors the life and service of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. From the March on Washington to the March on Selma, Dr. King and several others fought for the equal rights of African-Americans who faced institutional oppression--including racial discrimination and restricted voting rights. Because of King and so many others like him, laws such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 have enhanced the basic human rights for racial minorities in the nation.
Today, even though citizens have the right to vote, participation and registration is stagnant. But policy proposals on the local, state, and federal level can bring change and progress. Same day voter registration and automatic voter registration can make it easier for more voters to participate without stressing about the process. Similarly, youth pre-registration and lowering the voting age to 16 can get more young people engaged in democracy. Finally, a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote would further protect voters in our democracy. These sets of policies can invite more people into the political process and ensure our country is a government of, by and for the people.
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