On the 85th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth, Vice President Joe Biden said he never imagined the country would once again be fighting over the Voting Rights Act. “I never thought we’d be fighting the fight again on voting rights, I really didn’t,” Biden said Monday to the annual King Day breakfast at the National Action Network. The vice president marked the civil rights leader’s birthday with a renewed call to action for the cause he said got him into public office in the first place.
Biden quoted a 1965 letter that King wrote from a Selma, Ala., jail that called voting “the foundation stone for political action.”
“Ever since that year, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has been the mortar protecting and fortifying that foundation stone,” he said.
Though the right to vote has been guaranteed by the 15th Amendment since 1870, Biden said it was “consistently thwarted, mostly by intimidation and insidious practices, like the poll tax, the grandfather clause, selectively enforced literacy tests and so much more.”