Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn released the following statement on today's reintroduction of the Voter Empowerment Act:
"The right to vote should be the birthright of every American, but in the past several years, more than a dozen states have passed laws making it more difficult for citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote. We urgently need to update our federal laws to safeguard the sacred right of American citizens to vote.
"Working with Representatives John Lewis, Marcia Fudge, George Miller, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and others, we consolidated several bills that had been under discussion for some time. We convened a legislative summit last year with dozens of Members and representatives from scores of advocacy organizations. Working extensively with Ranking Members Robert Brady and John Conyers, we developed this comprehensive bill. The Voter Empowerment Act contains three main parts: improving access, protecting integrity and ensuring accountability.
"On this date in 1964, the 24th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, ending forever the Jim Crow era practice of poll taxes as a barrier to the free exercise of the right to vote. This legislation will end recently enacted creative devices that constitute a modern version of the poll tax. I urge the 113th Congress to pass this needed legislation this year."