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Hill District Event Celebrates The Impact Of The Voting Rights Act

Representatives from a variety of advocacy organizations celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act with a news conference Thursday on Freedom Corner in Pittsburgh’s Hill District.

While they celebrated, they spoke of efforts in recent years to rescind voters' rights, such as the defeated voter ID law and changes they want to see that would allow Pennsylvanians more voting flexibility.

Among those changes? Allowing people to register to vote online and letting people vote ahead of time – changes that have occurred in dozens of other states.

“We also would like to see changes in the absentee ballot form. Currently you have to give an excuse or a reason for getting an absentee ballot. We want no excuse for an absentee ballot,” said Annette Shimer, president of the The League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh.

The advocates gathered at Freedom Corner in The Hill District, where many protests have been held. Bob Maddock of The Black and White Reunion spoke about the need to get people to register to vote and then to actually vote.

“The Voting Rights Act gave us the promise of power and justice, but only we can ensure that promise will be fulfilled,” he said.