On August 6th, 1965, US president Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law.
This landmark civil rights law outlawed discriminatory voting practices.
The bill was in response to decades of racial, discrimination at the polls in many southern states.
Here is a look at how the legislation came to be and what has happened to voting rights in the US since.
Following the civil war, the United States in 1870 ratified the 15th Amendment to the constitution, which black men the right to vote.
In the ensuing decades, however, southern states used various means to keep blacks from voting,
including violence, intimidation, economic retaliation and literacy tests.
Even blacks who were highly educated could fail literacy tests which were deliberately arbitrary and misleading.
Southern officials also used poll taxes to deny voting rights to many blacks as well as poor whites.
By the 1950s, a movement in the united States to combat discrimination was growing: the civil rights movement.
In 1964, Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, outlying discrimination and ending segregation in public places.
Despite its passage, discriminating around voting in the south continued.
A major turning point came on March 7, 1965 in Selma Alabama when peaceful marchers calling for equal voting rights were attacked by police.
Footage of the violence shot the nation.
Following the attack, Congress passed the Voting Rights and Johnson signed the bill.
The legislation banned literacy tests, investigations into poll taxes and created federal oversight in areas with histories of discrimination.
Voter registration rates of blacks began to rise.
Rates in the southern state of Mississippi alone rose by 53% in three years.
Later Voting Rights Bill provided protections for non-English speakers.
The so-called motor voter law allowed people to register to vote at state motor vehicle agencies.
A major test to the US voting system came during the 2000 presidential election when the vote came down to several hundred disputed ballots.
The vote prompted US lawmakers to pass the host of election reforms that led some states to enact voter ID laws.
Proponents said the ID laws prevented fraud while opponents said they disenfranchised voters, particularly minorities.
Voting laws were further changed in 2013 with the Supreme Court ruled that some measures of the Voting Rights Act were outdated,
including the federal review of southern voting procedures.
In response, many states increased voting restrictions, including adding more voter ID laws and limits to early voting.
By 2018, 23 states had enacted newly restrictive statewide voter laws.
Controversy over election laws reached a peak during the 2020 presidential election
with the coronavirus pandemic led states to expand mailing voting.
President Donald Trump made uncorroborated claims that voting by mail was susceptible to fraud.
When the vote count showed Joe Biden had won, Trump made the unsubstantiated claim that his defeat was the result of widespread fraud.
Lawmakers at the state and national level raced to again update election laws.
Democrats passed a sweeping election reform bill in the US House of Representatives, including a further expansion of mailing voting.
Republican lawmakers passed from tighter voting laws in several where they hold majorities.
They say the measures are needed to prevent fraud, while opponents say theyre meant to make it harder to vote, particularly for people of color.
Recent restrictive voting laws in Arizona were challenged in court
with the federal appeals court ruling that they disproportionately affected minorities.
However, the supreme court upheld the new laws in a July ruling.
The conservative leaning court majority said that even though the Arizona law had some disparity and impact,
it did not mean the voting system was unequal.
The Arizona measures limit who can return early ballots for another person and stipulate that valid filed the wrong creation will not be counted.
President Joe Biden, who is Democrat, called the Supreme Court decision harmful and said it undercuts the Voting Rights Act,
while the republican national committee said it was a victory for election integrity.