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Rep. John Lewis Statement on Democratic Action

July 18, 2018
Press Release

I want to thank my friend, the Gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. McGovern) for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to oppose this rule and to support the previous question.

In a democracy, the right to vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have.  Many people marched and protested for the right to vote.  Some gave a little blood, and others lost their lives.

Some of you have heard me say that the right to vote is precious – almost sacred.  In my heart of hearts, I believe that we should make it simple and convenient for all of our citizens to be part of the democratic process.

It should not matter whether you are Black or white, Latino, Asian American, or Native American.  We should be able to participate in the democratic process.

On March 7, 1965, I gave a little blood on the Edmund Pettus Bridge for the right to vote.  Before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed, some people had to count the number of bubbles on a bar of soap, the number of jelly beans in a jar, and all across America today, when people go out and attempt to vote, they stand in long, immovable lines.

That is not right.  That’s not fair, and it’s not just.  We can do better and we must do better.  We have a moral obligation, a mission, a mandate to empower all the American people – not just select few.  

We must do what is right, what is fair, and what is just.

Today our democracy is under attack – by forces within and forces abroad.  We need to fix it and fix it now.

For these reasons, I am proud to sponsor H.R. 12, the Voter Empowerment Act, with my friends and my colleagues.  It is a good bill, a necessary bill, and a patriotic bill to protect and to preserve our voting system.  I urge each and every one of you to support the previous question, and I yield back.  Thank you, Mr. McGovern.    


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