I. In Focus This Week
The Voting Rights Act turns 50
A look at some of the stories this week and some artwork too!
Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law.
Between the anniversary of the March on Selma and the Voting Rights Act this year, literally thousands of column inches have been written about voting rights.
We at electionline weren’t sure how much we could expand on that this week, so we just wanted to give you a round up of some of the major news stories about the Voting Rights Act that were published this week.
In addition to highlighting some of the major news stories about this week’s Voting Rights Act anniversary, we wanted to share a blog post (see below) from the Washington Secretary of State’s office about the 2015 Kids’ Art Contest.
The secretary of state’s office holds the contest every year with the winning artwork gracing the cover of the state’s voter guide that year.
“The Kids’ Art Contest has been one of the Elections Division’s favorite programs. Hundreds of students across Washington take part, and many of them create some incredible posters,” said Elections Director Lori Augino. “The contest allows kids to put their artistic side to good use while also developing an appreciation for voting.”
Emily Cain and Secretary Wyman (right) hold up a poster of Emily’s winning artwork in her class. With them (from left) are Emily’s teacher, Kevin Plough, and her mother, Amanda Cain. (Photo courtesy of Lindsay Pryor)
Emily Cain began Wednesday morning at Burien’s Cedarhurst Elementary School like she has many times before it. But what was a routine day for the fourth-grader took a major change around 9:30.
Her mom and her little brother unexpectedly entered her classroom. Then walked in a lady she’s never met, Secretary of State Kim Wyman. Standing before Emily, her teacher, Kevin Plough, and her classmates, the Secretary of State explained why she was there – to announce that Emily was the winner of the statewide Kids’ Art Contest.
“I could tell Emily had no idea why we were there, which made it really special when I told her she won the contest,” Wyman said. “It was fun to surprise Emily in front of her teacher and classmates with the big news! Congratulations to her and her family!”
Emily’s winning artwork, featured below, will be shown in the 3.2 million copies of the statewide General Election Voters’ Pamphlet that will be sent to Washington residents in October. Emily’s drawing and those of the runners-up will be displayed this fall in the Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen’s office in the state Capitol.
The annual contest, sponsored by our Elections Division, is for fourth- and fifth-grade Washington students. Nearly 300 students took part this year. The contest prompts a discussion with our youngest citizens about the importance of voting.
This year’s contest theme, “Every Vote is Equal!” celebrates 50 years of the Voting Rights Act, a landmark federal law that prohibits racial discrimination in voting. Civil rights activists Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks were on hand to watch President Lyndon B. Johnson sign the bill into law on August 6, 1965.
“Washingtonians and Americans today could not truly call themselves free if the Voting Rights Act didn’t exist,” Wyman said. “I hope the students who took part in this year’s Art Contest learned about this important law and how it’s helped give a voice to all citizens, regardless of skin color.”
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