Democracy in Crisisby Representative Marc A. Veasey
Posted on 2016-05-23
VEASEY. Mr. Speaker, I thank Congressman Hakeem Jeffries from New
York and Congresswoman Joyce Beatty from Ohio for everything that they
are doing on raising this issue tonight. It is very timely, considering
everything that we are going through
right now. When you think about the Voting Rights Act, it is literally
the single most important piece of legislation that has ever been
passed in the history of the United States as it deals with an
individual's right to vote.
But as you know, 3 years ago, the Supreme Court regressed and sent us back by gutting section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. Not only was that bad because it hurt the Voting Rights Act, but it was also bad because of everything that it did to propel States around the country from also retrogressing and sending us back in the area of voting rights.
You are starting to hear so many stories of States and localities that are passing more and more laws to restrict the right to vote, making it harder for young people to vote--seniors, the disabled, people that move around a lot and are transient, people that don't necessarily have the money that they need in order to obtain the proper identification.
And you heard Congresswoman Sewell when she so eloquently talked about the fact that oftentimes, particularly in the South, people were born by midwives. We have a lot of baby boomers that are out there. People think these things happened a long time ago. That is the thing that you hear all the time. But there are people that are living here today, a lot of baby boomers, that were born down in the piney woods of east Texas, that were born in other parts of the South, that don't have the proper documentation that they need in order to be able to vote.
I have met people since I have been involved in campaigns and elections and as an elected official that didn't have the proper ID to vote. I have to tell you that there are many of them out there.
Just hours after the Supreme Court made the decision in 2013 that my home State of Texas implemented the most egregious voter ID law in the entire country, just hours after the Supreme Court gutted section 4, they moved to reimplement the law. That was very disappointing, considering that an appeals court had already said that the voter ID law in Texas was one of the worst in the country.