Larsen Bill Fights Discrimination Resulting From Voter ID Laws

Jul 29, 2015 Issues: Equality & Opportunity

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Citizens’ fundamental right to vote would have more protection if a bill authored by Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, is enacted. In advance of the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act next week, Larsen today reintroduced the America Votes Act of 2015. The bill would allow voters to sign a sworn written statement attesting to their identity if they do not have the identification required at their polling place.

“Instead of looking for ways to keep people from voting, we should be looking for ways to break down barriers so all people can fully participate in our democracy. The America Votes Act is a straightforward bill to fight voter identification laws that disenfranchise citizens and undermine our democracy. As our country commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, Congress should seize this opportunity to protect the vote for all eligible citizens,” Larsen said.

The Voting Rights Act (VRA) was enacted on August 6, 1965, to prohibit racial discrimination in voting. In 2013, the Supreme Court struck down the section of the VRA that required jurisdictions with a history of discrimination against minority voters to clear election changes with the federal government. Larsen’s bill would help correct discrimination resulting from state voter ID laws.

The bill has the support of 33 other members of Congress: James Clyburn, SC-06, Earl Blumenauer, OR-03, Diana DeGette, CO-0, Keith Ellison, MN-05, Sam Farr, CA-20, Judy Chu, CA-27, Adam Smith, WA-09, Eleanor Holmes Norton, DC-AL, Wm. Lacy Clay, MO-01, Suzan DelBene, WA-01, Elijah Cummings, MD-07, Sheila Jackson Lee, TX-18, Niki Tsongas, MA-03, Janice Hahn, CA-44, Joyce Beatty, OH-03, Cedric Richmond, LA-02, Matt Cartwright, PA-17, Steve Israel, NY-03, Jim Himes, CT-04, Denny Heck, WA-10, Sean Patrick Maloney, NY-18, Steve Cohen, TN-09, Danny K. Davis, IL-07, Hank Johnson, GA-04, Ted Deutch, FL-21, Derek Kilmer, WA-06, David Cicilline, RI-01, Elizabeth Esty, CT-05, Jim McDermott, WA-07, Gregory W. Meeks, NY-05, Dina Tutus, NV-01, Bobby Rush, IL-01, Sandford Bishop, Jr., GA-02.

More than 30 states have passed laws that require some kind of identification from people before they can vote. Several independent analyses of elections have shown that in-person voter fraud is a nonissue.

A fact sheet on the bill is available here. The text of the bill is available here.

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