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Rep. John Lewis Joins with House Leaders For Voter Empowerment, Not Disenfranchisement

May 17, 2012
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. John Lewis (GA-5), along with House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD-5),  Democratic Assistant Leader James Clyburn (SC-6), Rep. John Conyers (MI-14), and Rep. Robert Brady (PA-1), unveiled comprehensive voting rights legislation. The Voter Empowerment Act will modernize voter registration, ensure equal access to the ballot box for all Americans, and prohibit deceptive practices and voter fraud that keep people from exercising their constitutional right to vote. Less than six months away from a presidential election, Democrats will not sit idly by as states across the country attempt to pass unprecedented laws that would erect barriers to voting for military, disabled, minority, young, elderly and low-income Americans.

Rep. Lewis stated, “The ability to vote should be easy, accessible and simple.  Yet there are practices and laws in place that make it harder to vote today than it was even one year ago.  The sponsors of this act believe we need to take action or risk losing the liberties we have enjoyed.  We should be moving toward a more inclusive democracy, not one that locks people out.”

Democratic Whip Hoyer stated, “I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the Voter Empowerment Act. Just six months from a presidential election and amid an unprecedented drive to impose new restrictions on who can vote in states across the country, Democrats will fight for the right to vote and for the integrity of our electoral system. This bill is a major step towards greater accountability and broader access. Moving forward, we will continue to shine a light on efforts to deter eligible voters from the exercising their rights."

Assistant Leader Clyburn stated, “Everywhere I go, people are expressing great concern and are asking whether or not their access to the ballot and ballot box are going to remain unfettered.  The Voter Empowerment Act contains three main parts: improving access, protecting integrity and ensuring accountability.  If adopted, it will go a long ways towards making our nation a more perfect Union.”

Rep. Conyers stated, “There is no more important right in our society than the right to vote – it is the foundation of all of our other rights enshrined in the Constitution.  Unfortunately the right to vote is under attack in too many states and today we stand together to protect that precious right.  Our legislation will help protect the right to vote for veterans, senior citizens, students, and minorities who are vulnerable to disenfranchisement.  This should not be a partisan issue, but a legal and moral imperative for both parties.”   

Rep. Brady stated, "This bill ensures that everyone – seniors, the disabled, working families, students and our military can register to vote.  It makes registering to vote simpler, faster, and more secure for each and every American. The Voter Empowerment Act reaffirms the basic principle our democracy: one person, one vote"

A fact sheet on the bill can be found here.

The full text of the bill can be found here.