Obama says biggest harm to voting rights today is apathy

Barack Obama
President Barack Obama speaks during a joint news conference with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Monday, July 27, 2015, at the National Palace in Addis Ababa. Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to visit Ethiopia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama says all Americans owe a debt to the sharecroppers and maids and ordinary Americans who were brave enough to try time and again to register to vote in the face of violence and oppression. He says without them, the Voting Rights Act wouldn’t have been signed into law 50 years ago Thursday.

At a White House event marking the anniversary, Obama said those rights are being whittled away today by voter ID laws and other attempts to discourage voting. He called on Congress to update the law in response to court decisions.

But Obama says attacks on their voting rights aren’t the main reason Americans don’t vote – many just don’t bother.

He declared Sept. 22 National Voter Registration Day and urged everyone to get registered.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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