Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after the Committee on House Administration held a hearing to review the recommendations of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration:
“There is no more fundamental right that Americans have than the right to vote, and today’s hearing by the Committee on House Administration to review the recommendations of the bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration was an important step toward ensuring that this basic right is never denied. I join in supporting the recommendations of the President’s commission, and I thank Bob Bauer and Ben Ginsburg for testifying before the Committee today to discuss their findings.
“Over the past few years, voters in many jurisdictions have had to contend with long lines and an inequitable distribution of voting machines. Coupled with recent efforts in some states to suppress the vote among students, seniors, and members of minority groups through restrictive voter identification laws and changes to registration and early voting, they represent a major impediment to ballot access that undermines the legitimacy of our democratic system. The proponents of such actions have offered the pretext of combating rampant voter fraud, even though no such epidemic has been identified.
“I was proud to lead the effort in 2002 to pass the Help America Vote Act, which established the Election Assistance Commission and helped states modernize their voting systems to avoid a repeat of the disputed 2000 presidential election in Florida. In the 113th Congress, I have continued to make protecting voters’ access to the ballot a top legislative priority by working with Civil Rights Movement hero Rep. John Lewis, Rep. John Conyers, and other Democratic Members to introduce the Voter Empowerment Act. Our bill would create a national voter hotline, make voter registration easier, and encourage more eligible Americans to exercise their right to vote. At the same time, I have partnered with Rep. Lewis and Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner to introduce the bipartisan Voting Rights Amendment Act, which would restore the protections so unwisely removed by the Supreme Court last June in Shelby v. Holder.
“These are important legislative items that the House ought to consider without delay, and the Republican Majority’s refusal to bring them to the Floor is simply unacceptable. Today’s hearing ought to be a wake-up call to all Americans that our right to vote must never be taken for granted. I thank Ranking Member Robert Brady for issuing that call and for continuing to make this important issue a top priority.”