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"On September 25, 2012, National Voter Registration Day, hundreds of Houston residents will come together ensure all eligible voters in Texas are prepared to vote this fall. In 2008, many states throughout the country have enacted or proposed strict voting laws that impose unfair restrictions on eligible voters across the country. On this day I will join Congressional members across the nation who are committed to ensuring all that no eligible voter is turned away from the ballot box during early voting and on Election Day.
"Block the vote efforts, like restrictive voter ID laws, could impede as many as 5 million people from registering to vote and/or casting a ballot. At least 34 states have introduced laws that would require voters to show photo identification in order to vote. At least 12 states have introduced laws that would require proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, to register to vote or to vote. The states that have already cut back on voting rights provide 171 electoral votes in 2012 - 63 percent of the 270 needed to win the presidency.
"More than 300,000 valid voters were notified that they could be removed from the Texas voter rolls from November 2008 to November 2010. This overt purging is done under the guise of reducing voter fraud and updating voter registration rolls. It has been noted that more than 1.5 million Texas voters could have their registrations cancelled.
"In 2008, 6 million Americans did not vote because they did not know how to register or they missed their state's voter registration deadline. Today volunteers, celebrities, and organizations from all over the country will "hit the streets' for National Voter Registration Day. This will be a single day of coordinated volunteer, technology and media efforts will create widespread awareness of voter registration opportunities.
"Why Sept. 25th? When you go late in the year people tend to tune into elections late. Why Sept. 25th? Weekdays provide opportunities to register voters at transit stops, on their way to college classes, and elsewhere, just taking part in their daily routines. Why Sept. 25th? Why Tuesday? In the United States, Tuesday is when our elections generally take place. The right to vote is a precious right. The right to Due Process is a Constitutional right. Not voting diminishes your Constitutional right.
"The right to vote is a critical and sacred constitutionally protected civil right. To challenge this is to erode our democracy, challenge justice, and mock our moral standing. I urge my colleagues to join me in dismissing this crippling legislation, and pursue effective solutions to the real problems of election fraud and error. We cannot let the rhetoric of an election year destroy a fundamental right upon which we have established liberty and freedom.
"I have written to Attorney General Holder to urge him to protect the voting rights of Americans by using the full power of the Department of Justice to review the voter purging in Texas and scrutinize the broader implications and implementation. I implore Attorney General Holder to help stop these injustices which face voters in my district and in all of Texas.
"Through a coordinated series of Congressional Black Caucus "For the People' Voter Protection Initiative H. Res. 542 events across the country I will be working to encourage eligible voters to register and to ensure communities are prepared to vote on Election Day. The final date to register to vote in Texas is October 9th.
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