House Democrats Warn States on Changes to Voting Laws

For Immediate Release:

November 4, 2011

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By Siobhan Hughes
Wall Street Journal

Congressional Democrats are warning that state’s changes to voting laws may make it harder to cast election ballots — and are appealing to local officials to do something about it.

“Today, the right to vote is under threat once again,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) said at a press conference. “We are witnessing a concerted effort by Republican lawmakers across several states to place a new obstacle in front of minorities, low-income families and young people who seek to exercise their right to vote.”

He highlighted a Nov. 3 letter from 196 Democrats to secretaries of state across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, asking them to “put partisan considerations aside and serve as advocates for enfranchisement.”

The letter comes after the White House quietly launched its own attack on the GOP-backed election law changes, as the WSJ reported Wednesday.

It also follows an October report from New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice that found that in the first three quarters of 2011, many state governments had enacted new laws and policies making it harder to vote. The report said the new laws — such as a requirement to show government-issued photo IDs in order to vote — would fall most heavily on young, minority, disabled, and low-income voters and could make it harder for more than 5 million eligible voters to cast ballots in 2012.

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