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