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Rep. John Lewis Comments on Texas Voter ID Supreme Court Decision

October 18, 2014
Press Release

         WASHINGTON--In a pre-dawn Saturday decision, the U.S. Supreme Court decided today to uphold the most restrictive voter ID law in the country.  Though a lower court judge ruled the Texas law was unconstitutional due to the possibility that it could impede ballot access of as many as 600,000 registered voters and targets Latino and African American voters in the state, a majority of the Supreme Court ruled in an unsigned decision without explanation.  Justice Ginsberg wrote a six page dissent signed by Justices Sotomayor and Kagan.

         Upon hearing about this decision, Rep. John Lewis, a champion of voting rights, made these comments:                            

         "Despite the Supreme Court's decision today, I agree with many others who still believe that the Texas voter ID law and other such laws around the country are a modern-day poll tax.  These laws, as they are written, put additional burdens on hundreds and thousands of voters, particularly the elderly, the poor, rural voters and minorities.  These restrictions make it harder and more difficult for many registered voters, who have participated responsibly in elections for years, to have their voices heard in this society.  I still believe there is a systematic effort to block voting access of certain segments of the population.  We must not allow these efforts to go unchallenged.

         "This is a very important election that could be the gateway to even more regressive change, if we do not act. I encourage everyone to check the current law in their state and make certain they have what it takes to vote in this election.  Organizations must assist low-income, the elderly, rural voters and minorities to get what they need.  Whatever it takes to vote, do it. The vote is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democracy.  People struggled and died for the right to vote in this country.  Let nothing stop you from participating in the democratic process."