INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Marking the 56th commemoration of “Bloody Sunday” — the day on March 7, 1965, that civil rights marchers were brutally beaten by law enforcement officers on Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge — President Biden signed an executive order expanding voting access.
The NAACP believes this move is the start of eliminating barriers to allow all eligible Americans to exercise their fundamental right to vote.
Tyjuan Garrett with NAACP Branch 3053 said members of the organization are thrilled to see President Biden expand voting rights 56 years after “Bloody Sunday.”
“What better way to honor those freedom fighters that really sacrificed a lot to make sure there are equal access to voting across the land,” said Garrett.
The order directs the heads of all federal agencies to submit proposals for their respective agencies to promote voter registration and participation within 200 days. The executive order also expands voter access and registration efforts for communities often overlooked in outreach, including the disabled, military serving overseas and the incarcerated.
These are issues Garrett said we have seen here locally.
“You have to have an excuse with absentee ballots. In some states there are no excuse for absentee ballots. We shouldn’t be trying to sift out people. We should actually be trying to get more people included,” said Garrett.
This move comes after Republicans in statehouses across the country are trying to advance bills some are calling voter suppression legislation. Garrett hopes the community will reflect on the power of the black vote and what it took to get this order and encourage others to participate.
“Voting is the most sacred thing you can have. Anything that is high coveted and highly sacred is always going to be under attack. The best way to do it is remain engaged,” said Garrett.
The Indianapolis NAACP Branch is hoping to see more voting sites, more use of technology at the polls and extended hours in Indiana.