Reaction to last week’s U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act:

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville: “Coming from one of the 15 states that has been impacted by this provision of the 1965 legislation for almost half a century, today’s landmark ruling is encouraging and uplifting for the future changes Congress can make to ensure fairness to every single person who comes to the polls on election day to take part in our electoral process. But this morning’s news does not mean our fight for voting equality is done. Even in the divisive times we find ourselves in right now, Congress must find a way to come together, make smart decisions for the well-being of our citizenry, and rework the current formula to get it right. We call ourselves the freest country in the world, well it is time to start acting like it and put our own people before the politics.”

U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Atlanta: “Today, the Supreme Court stuck a dagger into the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most effective pieces of legislation Congress has passed in the last 50 years.

“I disagree with the court that the history of discrimination is somehow irrelevant today. The record clearly demonstrates numerous attempts to impede voting rights still exist, and it does not matter that those attempts are not as “pervasive, widespread or rampant” as they were in 1965. One instance of discrimination is too much in a democracy.”

Gov. Nathan Deal: “The Voting Rights Act was a vital tool in the struggle to ensure that all Americans had access to the ballot box. But determining who needs ‘pre-clearance’ by a formula based on the 1964 election defies logic. Over the last half century, Georgia has reformed, and our state is a proud symbol of progress. Today’s decision guarantees that Georgia will be treated like every other state — a right we have earned. Our continued dedication to voting rights in Georgia will verify the wisdom of the court’s determination today. The Voting Rights Act, when passed, was a clarion call for human rights and stands as one of the most important laws in our nation’s history. In fact, the fact that we no longer need Section 5 testifies to the success of the law much more than its renewal ever could.”

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed: “The Supreme Court decision in Shelby County vs. Holder is stunningly disappointing and ignores the clear intent of the United States Congress, which has enacted and repeatedly reauthorized the Voting Rights Act since 1965 by wide bipartisan majorities, reflecting the undeniable will of the people that each vote be counted regardless of whether it is cast by an ethnic minority.”

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