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  • Rules of the House

    by Representative James E. Clyburn

    Posted on 2013-01-03

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    CLYBURN. I thank the ranking member for yielding me the time.



    Madam Speaker, today is a day of great pride for every Member who has just been sworn in, particularly our newly elected Members. It is a great honor to be elected to serve in this body. On Election Day, our constituents went to their polling places and voted for us. We should be thankful for that, particularly so when, for far too many of our constituents, regardless of their political leanings, voting on Election Day was an unnecessarily burdensome, time-consuming, and unpleasant experience.

    In my home county in South Carolina, voters reported waiting in line for over 4 hours. One young voter thought ahead of time. He brought an iPad, and watched the entire ``Hunger Games'' movie while in line. Others, understandably, didn't have 3 hours to spare on a workday. In Detroit, Michigan, Gina Porter waited in line for more than 3 hours before giving up. Danielle Wilkins voted after waiting for 4 hours.

    In Lee County, Florida, Angela DeFranciesco went to her polling place in the morning with her infant son. Seeing a 3-hour line, she decided to come back later. After finding a babysitter, she returned in the afternoon, at which point the line had grown to 5\1/2\ hours. Unable to be away from her infant son that long, she left without voting.

    As President Obama said on election night, ``We have to fix that.'' As we take our places in this Congress that we earned on Election Day, now is the time to fix it. This motion to commit would ensure that no voter has to wait longer than an hour to cast a ballot.

    We have a long history of struggle over the right to vote in this country. Yet, time and again, we have reaffirmed the principle that every eligible American has an equal right to cast a ballot without facing discrimination. A 3-hour wait is discrimination against those who have to work, those who have to take care of their kids and those whose health prevents them from [[Page H15]] waiting in line for such a long time. Long lines are the 21st century version of poll taxes and literacy tests, disenfranchising the least advantaged and the most vulnerable citizens. We have an obligation to ensure that every American has an equal opportunity to exercise his constitutional right to vote.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.

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