Fighting to Protect Voting Rights

Voting Rights
Democrats are working to restore voting protections and ensure every American can exercise the right to vote.

Every election, Americans head to the polls to exercise their most fundamental right – the right to vote. Unfortunately, Republicans at the state and federal levels have launched an unprecedented attack on voting rights. Over the past few years, measures have been introduced by Republicans in state legislatures across the country that would make it harder for millions of eligible voters to register or vote. This summer, House Republicans unveiled a funding bill that would shut down the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), which was established by the Help America Vote Act in 2002.  The EAC helps states share and implement best practices in voting technology and provides resources to help protect voter data and keep voting accountable. 

In addition, President Trump continues to make unsubstantiated claims that millions of Americans voted illegally in the last election, and he has launched a commission to suppress voting and exclude millions of eligible voters from casting their ballot.  The commission is led by a state official known for purging voter rolls and making ballot access more restrictive, and one of the first acts of the commission was to demand Americans’ private information, which could be used to intimidate voters and restrict their right to vote.  Already, there have been reports of some voters de-registering in order to protect their personal information from being taken by the Trump Administration.

House Democrats will not stand for these partisan efforts to hinder access to the ballot. In June, House Democrats reintroduced the Voter Empowerment Act in the House of Representatives to ensure equal access to the ballot for every eligible voter by modernizing our voter registration system to help more Americans participate and taking steps to eliminate deceptive practices that deter voters from casting their ballots. House Democrats have also introduced the Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore the voting rights protections struck down by the Supreme Court in the flawed Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder.

Democrats continue to urge House Republican leaders to bring these bills to the Floor so that we can assure all Americans that their right to vote will be protected.

Voting Rights Related
This commission to suppress the vote should never have been created in the first place. It found no fraud because there had been no fraud, and it should not be revived by the Department of Homeland Security.

This past weekend, hackers gathered in Las Vegas with a simple mission: break into America’s electronic voting machines and take control.  Within minutes, some had already succeeded – but that’s a good thing. 


Today’s convening of President Trump’s new commission to suppress the vote represents a new low in Republicans’ partisan efforts to endanger Americans’ most fundamental right to participate equally in our democracy. 


The Appropriations Committee’s proposal to terminate the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is reckless and irresponsible. 


The struggle for voting access in America has been long and storied.  It is not a right assured to every citizen.


Thank you very much. Some years ago, when the Republicans were in charge of Congress, I sponsored the Help America Vote Act as a result of the challenge that we had in Florida, and the 5 people elected the President of the United States, making the determination.


If Russian operatives were successful in hacking into servers in thirty-nine states connected to voting systems and elections personnel, we ought to be very concerned about the security of future elections.


Today’s decision by the Supreme Court not to revisit last year’s case against North Carolina’s 2013 voting changes ought to send a signal to Republican-led states that adopting tough voter-ID requirement and limitations on early voting and same-day registration will be seen for what they are: discriminatory measures intended to limit minorities’ access to the ballot box.  


If the White House intends to create a commission to investigate voter suppression in this country, I hope its focus will be on the actual suppression of the voting rights of minorities, seniors, and students in states where Republican lawmakers have imposed barriers to ballot access since the terrible Shelby v. Holder Supreme Court ruling in 2013.


As a former Chairman of the Helsinki Commission, I was deeply saddened to learn of the killing of an American OSCE medic in eastern Ukraine from a mine placed by Russian-backed separatists. 


On National Voter Registration Day, it is important to remember that the right to register and vote was not always guaranteed or respected in our country.  


House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit struck down North Carolina's discriminatory voter identification requirement.