Skip to comments.House Democrats push to make voting easier
Posted on 05/17/2012 4:50:34 PM PDT by jazusamo
House Democratic leaders on Thursday introduced legislation to streamline Americans' trips to the polls.
The bill is a response to a slew of recent state legislation some proposed, some already law setting stricter standards for voters to register or cast a ballot.
Supporters of those state efforts including new picture ID and proof-of-citizenship requirements say they're necessary to weed out ineligible voters and maintain the integrity of elections. But critics contend they're designed to suppress eligible voters, particularly minorities and low-income Americans who tend to vote Democratic.
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a hero of the civil rights movement who marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King, said the state laws threaten to return the country to the same era of discrimination he fought against.
"In this age of technology, our country is moving backward, not forward," Lewis said Thursday as he introduced the bill in the Capitol. "People died for the right to vote, and some of them were people I knew. I hope and pray we do not return to the days of overt discrimination before we decide to do something about it."
Other Democrats piled on.
Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.), the assistant Democratic leader and another veteran of the civil rights struggle, said the new state restrictions would "roll back our hard fought access to the ballot boxes." Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.), the Democratic whip, said the reforms are "exactly the wrong way to go." And Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D-Texas), chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said the rules "are usually targeted" to exclude minorities.
"We know who the victims are," Gonzalez said.
At issue are a growing list of state laws recently pushed usually by Republican lawmakers aimed at preventing voter fraud. Since the start of 2011, at least 14 states have enacted or are about to enact new voting restrictions that will affect this year's presidential election, according to New York University Law School's Brennan Center for Justice. Eight states have passed new photo ID laws quadrupling the number before 2011 while the number of states with proof-of-citizenship requirements has doubled over the same span, the Brennan Center found.
In all, 176 restrictive bills have been proposed over the last 18 months in 41 states, according to the Brennan Center.
Rep. Robert Brady (Pa.), ranking member of the House Administration Committee, condemned a new Pennsylvania law that requires voters to show a government-issued photo ID at the polls. Those without such an ID, he said, need to produce a birth certificate and a Social Security card to get one. Those without a Social Security card need to show a government-issued photo ID.
"So you have to get a photo ID to get a Social Security card to get a photo ID to vote. It's ridiculous," Brady said. "These laws do absolutely nothing zero to encourage more democracy and our democratic system."
The Democrats' bill seeks to lower the hurdles to voting, making online registration universal, allowing all eligible voters to register on election day and providing funds to train poll workers. The legislation would also require all federally-funded universities to conduct registration drives.
The proposal is sponsored by Lewis, Hoyer, Clyburn, Brady, and Rep. John Conyers (Mich.), senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.
One thing the bill does not do is to prohibit certain ID requirements a move the Democrats defended Thursday.
"Voter ID is not a problem. Everybody that goes to vote shows some form of ID," Clyburn said. "The big problem has been the process you go through to get there."
The Democrats decried the cost of some required IDs, comparing them to the poll taxes that discouraged poor citizens from voting generations ago.
Lewis said that 51 million Americans are not registered to vote "and it is harder for them to register today than it was just one year ago."
"We must not be silent," Lewis said, "while leaders we elect take away our voting rights."
Unbiased reporting here.
They have rights too.
My vote is suppressed only when it is cancelled out by an illegal vote.
Its already easy. I walk down to the polling place, sign in, show my ID, and vote. I’m home less than 10 minutes later.
If these people drive, collect a government check or use a credit card/cash a check, then they have an ID. This legislation is meant only to allow voter fraud and yet the Pubs won’t call them out on it. Passing Voter ID laws is a great move but calling out the Dems on this type of legislation long and loud is also necessary.
“But critics contend they’re designed to suppress eligible voters, particularly minorities and low-income Americans who tend to vote Democratic. “
Yup. Here we go with the low income/minority idiocy. At least in that sentence the reporter was honest about these brain-dead morons voting Dumocrapic.
Amen! No cause to be sorry.
The Democrats are enraged that 50,000 dead people have been disenfranchised in Florida.
In closing he will say the obvious. Our nation does not benefit, but rather the primary beneficiaries of universal voting are the demagogues, statists, masterminds and slave owners of the demorat party.
But they had ID's a death Certificate
“So you have to get a photo ID to get a Social Security card to get a photo ID to vote. It’s ridiculous,” Brady said.”
What is he saying?
Isn’t everyone required to have a SS card? If so, and they had to have a photo ID in order to get the SS card, then they already have a photo ID and need no other. Or am I missing something?
As long as we are stuck with the graduated income tax, this is the least that should be required to vote.
No pay....no say....in choosing the "leaders" of the Country.
If you can figure it out let us all know, he's full of it. He doesn't want a photo ID requirement.
DEMOCRAT pole worker counting the votes when polls closed: “One for you, three for us. One for you, two for us. One for you, two for us .....etc....etc......etc”
pole worker = poll worker. DUH