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.
Full Article: House Democrats push to make voting easier – TheHill.com.