Ms. CHU. Few things are as sacred as the right to vote. Generations have fought, bled, and died so that you and I can have a voice in our democracy. This is why we must guard against measures that take this away, like the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which prohibited all Chinese immigrants from becoming naturalized citizens so that they would not be able to vote. It lasted 60 years, until 1943, preventing people who'd lived in this country for decades from exercising their voices.
Laws like this, poll taxes, or literacy tests, should be a thing of the past in America. Every U.S. citizen, no matter what their background, should have access to the polls. But today, State governments across the country are enacting laws making it much harder for as many as 5 million Americans to vote, requiring, for instance, photo IDs for grandmothers who voted for years but no longer drive.
When barely half of Americans vote, we should not be erecting more barriers to democracy. We should be removing obstacles. We must protect the right to vote.