1982 June 30

President Reagan Signs 25-Year Extension of Voting Rights Act


President Ronald Reagan had pledged to not extend, or at least to limit, the historic 1965 Voting Rights Act (signed into law on August 6, 1965). Support for the law, however, proved to be very strong among Democrats and Republicans, the American Bar Association, and many other groups. Congress reenacted the law and Reagan signed it.

The Voting Rights Act continued to be a powerful force in American life for another 31 years, until the Supreme Court declared the crucial “pre-clearance” provision unconstitutional, in Shelby County v. Holder, on June 25, 2013. Both the majority opinion and the dissent in Shelby discuss in detail the history of the extensions of the Voting Rights Act and the intent of Congress in those extensions.

Read Reagan’s statement on signing the extension:

Read: Chandler Davidson and Bernard Groffman, Quiet Revolution in the South: The Impact of the Voting Rights Act, 1965-1990 (1994)

Learn more about the 1982 reauthorization battle: https://www.aclu.org/voting-rights/aclu-history-reauthorization-battles-1982-and-2006

Follow a timeline on the 1965 Voting Rights Act: https://www.aclu.org/timeline-history-voting-rights-act

Find a Day

Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps


Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!