Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) announced his support as an original co-sponsor of the Voter Empowerment Act (VEA), authored by Congressman John Lewis (D-GA). The VEA is a comprehensive voting rights bill that ensures all Americans have equal access to the ballot box. The bill overhauls the voter registration system, and prohibits misleading electioneering practices that make it more difficult for Americans to vote.
"I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the VEA," said Hastings. "We should be making it easier for all Americans to vote, not harder. The changes found in this bill will go a long way toward ending Republican-sponsored laws and executive decisions that make it considerably more difficult for eligible voters to both register and vote."
"For example, Florida Republicans, led by Governor Rick Scott, enacted a law that made it harder for minorities, seniors and college students to cast a ballot by imposing new restrictive regulations on voter registration groups and reducing the number of early voting days. These are not minor inconveniences, but elements of a systematic attack that the VEA would help to end."
House Democrats proposed the VEA in response to President Obama's call on Election Night to tackle voting problems confronted by members of the military, as well as disabled, minority, young, elderly, and low-income Americans.
"Free and fair elections are the foundation of our democracy. We must fight to actively uphold and preserve our civic rights and responsibilities. We are not about to allow them to be taken away by politically motivated elected officials. The VEA will reaffirm the principle that our opportunity to vote is not something to be messed around with for political purposes."
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.