U.S. President Barack Obama marks the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act in his weekly address. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. President Barack Obama said on Saturday (August 8) that "every American" should have "equal access to the polls" as he was marking the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act in this week's address. "There are still too many barriers to vote, and too many people trying to erect new ones. We've seen laws that roll back early voting, force people to jump through hoops to cast a ballot, or lead to legitimate voters being improperly purged from the rolls. "That's why, as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, I'm calling on Congress to pass new legislation to make sure every American has equal access to the polls," Obama said in a televised weekly address. The Obama administration has been trying to counter a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June 2013 that overturned parts of the Voting Rights Act. That ruling freed several states, mostly in the South, from strict federal oversight. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) launched a 40-day march across the U.S. South on August 1 with a rally in Selma, Alabama, drawing on that city's significance in the 1960s civil rights movement to call attention to the issue of racial injustice in modern America. The march, which would cover nearly 900 miles, began on Selma's historic Edmund Pettus Bridge, where police beat peaceful marchers with clubs and doused them with tear gas in 1965. The infamous confrontation was a catalyst for the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act, signed into law 50 years ago this week. After two aborted attempts, civil rights activists led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. eventually marched to the state capital of Montgomery to build support for the legislation, which seeks to protect the rights of minority groups to cast ballots.