When Liberals Vote, Liberals Win. It really is that simple and that is why these 5 senators put the smackdown on Republican voter suppression efforts.
Concerned about Republican led efforts to suppress the vote, U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) tasked the non-partisan research arm of Congress, the Government Accounting Office (GAO), to investigate what they called an “alarming number” of new state laws that make it “significantly harder” for millions of voters to cast ballots.
The final report, Elections: Issues Related To State Voter Identification Laws, was released in September and found that state laws that make voters show IDs at polling places have put a price on ballot access and eroded turnout – especially among African Americans, young people and recently-registered voters. The report also “found scant evidence of voter fraud that the new laws that ostensibly are designed to discourage,” as noted by Bernie Sanders in a recent press release.
Below are the responses of the 5 senators to the findings of the GAO.
Patrick Leahy, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman
The right to vote is fundamental and foundational to our democracy. Each generation has a role to play in safeguarding this constitutional right. This new analysis from GAO reaffirms what many in Congress already know: Threats to the right to vote still exist. That is why Congress must act to restore the fundamental protections of the Voting Rights Act that have been gutted by the Supreme Court. Our bill offers timely remedies for a timeless right that is the birthright of every American.
Leahy has introduced legislation to restore the basic protections of the Voting Rights Act. After the law was severely weakened by the Supreme Court, Leahy presided over hearings on voting rights and his legislation.
Charles Schumer, Senate Rules Committee Chairman
This study confirms the real impact of Republican efforts to limit access to the ballot box. Playing politics with the right to vote is a shameful practice. Elected officials should be focused on engaging all Americans and encouraging participation, not putting up barriers that make it more difficult for some Americans to participate on Election Day.
Richard Durbin, Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee
on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights
This report is even more proof that these state laws significantly suppress and discourage Americans from exercising their constitutionally protected right to vote. Supporters of these laws argue that they will reduce the risk of voter fraud. The overwhelming evidence, however, indicates that voter impersonation fraud is virtually non-existent and that these new laws will make it harder for hundreds of thousands of elderly, disabled, minority, young, rural, and low income Americans to exercise their most basic right.
We must make it easier, not harder, for poor and working people to vote and to participate in the political process. These state laws aren’t really intended to discourage fraud, they’re intended to discourage voting. The GAO looked at study after study and found no credible evidence of voter fraud having had any impact whatsoever on the outcome of any election in recent history.
If you do not have the right to vote, then you do not have all the rights of citizenship. In a democracy such as ours, we should be making it easier, not more difficult to vote.
To read the GAO report, click here.