June 18, 1982

On behalf of the American people, I congratulate the United States Senate for its statesmanlike decision to extend the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Voting is one of the most cherished of our birthrights as American citizens. When practiced, it enriches our democracy; when threatened, it must be protected. Today's responsible action by the Senate sends a strong, bipartisan message: No American's vote shall be defiled, diluted, or denied.

The Voting Rights Act, and the amendments added to it in 1975, have significantly contributed to the achievement of full constitutional and political equality for black Americans, and for other minorities, especially Mexican Americans. I strongly believe there has also been a good-faith effort by the great majority of our people, in all regions, to ensure the provisions of this act are fully respected.

We can be gratified that the Senate has completed action on this important question and is now free to move on to other pressing issues.