Rep. John Lewis’s Statement on the Federal Election Integrity Act
June 22, 2006 - Rep. John Lewis joined Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA) in her opposition to the Federal Election Integrity Act proposed by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL). Rep. Millender-McDonald, ranking Democrat on the House Administration committee, held a news conference today in response to a committee hearing on Arizona Proposition 200. Rep. Lewis released this statement in support of the minority view on this matter:
"41 years after the signing of the Voting Rights Act, we should be making it simple, we should be making it very simple to participate in the democratic process. In recent years, we have taken steps to open up the election process and let all of our citizens in.
"Now we want to take a step back and require voters to prove their citizenship or show a government issued-ID in order to vote. Many elderly citizens, the disabled, people in small, rural communities-they don't have a passport. They may never have owned a birth certificate or a driver's license. Some of these citizens have to pay a fee or travel many miles to government offices, wait several weeks before their ID's are delivered.
"The Federal Integrity Act will place an extra burden on thousands of American citizens who have a right to participate in our democracy. That is not right. This is not fair. That is not just.
"The right to vote is precious. It is almost sacred. It is the heart and soul of the democratic process. It is the key to the protections that have made this the most powerful government in the world.
"If we can fight for democracy around the globe, we should stand for democracy here at home and offer every citizen a chance to be heard. We should offer every citizen a voice in the democratic process in this nation. Thank you."