Hoyer Joins Amicus Brief to Protect Americans’ Right to Vote

For Immediate Release:

June 4, 2014

Contact:

Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) joined Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA),  Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (SC), Chair of the Democratic Caucus, Xavier Becerra (CA), House Administration Ranking Member Robert A. Brady (PA), Chairs of the Congressional Black Caucus, Marcia Fudge (OH), Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Rubén Hinojosa (TX), and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Judy Chu (CA) in filing an amicus brief in Kobach v. EAC, which will be heard by the United States Court of Appeals of the Tenth Circuit.

“Congress has the responsibility to protect every American’s fundamental right to vote,” said Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer. “This law in Arizona, and laws like it, restrict the ability of people to register to vote, and disproportionally affect the poor, young people, and minorities. This amicus brief makes it clear that Democrats will not stand idly by and allow for these efforts to hinder any American’s access to the ballot box. Beyond this amicus brief, Democrats will keep pushing for Congress to adopt legislation like the Voter Empowerment Act, a comprehensive voting rights bill that responds to these forms of voter suppression. This legislation would ensure equal access to the ballot box for all Americans, modernize voter registration and prohibit deceptive practices and voter fraud that keep people from exercising their constitutional right to vote. I urge my Republican colleagues to work with us to bring it to the House Floor for a vote.”

The amicus brief opposes the District Court’s ruling that upheld restrictive voter registration requirements in Arizona that require proof of citizenship from people who want to vote in federal elections. The amicus brief urges the Court to reaffirm Congress’s authority to regulate federal elections and to protect every American’s right to vote. 

The Congressional amici point out to the Court: “Congress’s exercise of its constitutional authority has played a pivotal role in expanding the opportunity to vote and remove unnecessary procedural hurdles to voting…  The decision of the district court in this case, if left standing, could derail Congress’ efforts to identify and remove unnecessary barriers to voting in federal elections…. In recent decades, these laws have been instrumental in opening our democracy to more and more of our citizens. The district court decision casts doubt on clearly delegated congressional authority and would make its exercise open to regular challenge. The decision is inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s decision in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc…and diminishes the historic role that Congress has played in righting wrongs and assuring that all of our citizens are extended the opportunity to participate in our great democracy. The Constitution and history demand its reversal.”

Full text of amicus brief

Lead signatories:

Nancy Pelosi

Steny H. Hoyer

James Clyburn

Xavier Becerra

Robert A. Brady

Marcia Fudge

Rubén Hinojosa

Judy Chu

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