WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) made the following statement today on the House floor against the misguided Republican Voter ID bill:
"Mr. Speaker, let no one be mistaken, this Republican Voter ID bill is tantamount to a 21st century poll tax. It will disenfranchise large numbers of legal voters and disproportionately affect the elderly, people with disabilities, rural voters, students, racial and ethnic minorities and low-income voters - all of whom are less likely to have the current, valid photo identification required by this bill.
"It is highly ironic, Mr. Speaker, that just a few short weeks ago this Congress reauthorized key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 - the landmark law designed to make voting easier and more fair and to address centuries of discrimination. Yet today, through this Voter ID bill, the Republican Majority would make voting more onerous and burdensome for many Americans.
"Mr. Speaker, this legislation is nothing more than a partisan political stunt. All of us are united in seeking to eliminate voter fraud wherever it exists, and believe that those who perpetrate such fraud must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
"But let me remind my friends on the other side of the aisle, the elimination of voter fraud was a key component of the Help America Vote Act, bipartisan legislation that I helped sponsor after the election debacle in 2000 and which President Bush signed into law in October 2002. In fact, Republican Senator Kit Bond declared that HAVA 'makes voting easier and cheating harder.'
"Today, there is simply no evidence that HAVA is not working - even though this Republican Congress has failed to meet its funding obligations under that law. I urge my colleagues: Vote no on the previous question, allowing us to make in order the amendment offered by Congresswoman Millender-McDonald."