Today, Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-5), Congressman John Lewis (GA-5), Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (SC-6), Congressman John Conyers (MI-13), and ongressman Robert Brady (PA-1) reintroduced the Voter Empowerment Act in the House of Representatives. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York introduced a companion version in the Senate. The Voter Empowerment Act will help ensure equal access to the ballot for every eligible voter, will modernize our voter registration system to help more Americans participate, and takes steps to eliminate deceptive practices and voter fraud that deter voters from casting their ballots.
"I am proud to be joining Rep. John Lewis, a hero of the Civil Rights Movement, in reintroducing the Voter Empowerment Act on the anniversary of the 24th Amendment, which banned the discriminatory
practice of the poll tax," stated Congressman Hoyer. "Last year, this bill was introduced after several state legislatures enacted restrictive and discriminatory new voting rules, which made registering to vote and casting ballots difficult or impossible for many. We also saw long lines at polling places last November, with many people waiting hours to vote in Maryland and around the country. This legislation will protect Americans seeking to exercise their right to vote and builds on the successes of the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which I was proud to sponsor after the disputed 2000 election. With just a few months before the next special election for a seat in Congress, Congress ought to waste no time in bringing this bill to the Floor and I urge both parties to work together to pass it."
As more and more stories of voting problems emerge from last year's general election, Democrats are continuing to press the issue of ensuring Americans' voting rights through Congressional action,
especially at a time when some states have implemented or are planning to implement new barriers to voting for certain groups, including seniors, students, low-income Americans, and members of our Armed Services.