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Rep. Fudge Speaks out on Voter Suppression

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Published on Jul 24, 2012

America, the light on the hill...the standard... the example...a country built on democracy and inclusion.
America, a country of men and women willing to give their lives to ensure the rights of all people to elect their leadership, but some, here in our own country, are now doing all they can to restrict our ability to do the same. Chipping away at the very foundation upon which all of our rights rest, the right to vote. Yet, 31 American states have begun limiting the rights of their citizens to participate in our democracy's most important function: Voting.

If things remain as they are today, by the 2012 election, 11% or 21 million American voters may not be allowed to cast their ballot; 25% of them will be African American, and 18 % of them will be our nation's elders. This is a national shame. And the fact that this was a coordinated effort is a national scandal.

Recently, Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (ta-re-zee) told his state's Republican committee, and I quote, "Voter ID, which is going to allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done." They can't win without cheating? Have they no shame? Mr. Turzai (ta-re-zee) and others are blatantly and boldly attempting to encumber the rights of the American people. They do not want a level playing field!

A trend that began in just a few states, like Pennsylvania, has sparked a wildfire! In Texas you can face prosecution for registering voters. 5 states, Alabama, South Carolina, Texas, Kansas and Wisconsin have all passed laws requiring voters to produce a government-issued ID before casting a ballot. In Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and West Virginia early voting and absentee voting have been cut short.
Even in my home state of Ohio, we are still fighting restrictive actions. Time and time again, Ohio Republicans have tried everything in the book to keep voters away from the polls.

This bill will likely keep 54,340 legitimate voters in my district alone from voting. It could restrict 4% of all voters in our county from voting, the county with the highest percentage of minority voters.




It is time to get angry. Someone needs to know we won't lie down without a fight. We won't just throw in the towel in defeat.

If we fail to act, if we ignore this vicious attack on the right to vote, if we don't do what we need to do to educate voters and fight these suppressive laws, it will have an effect this November and beyond.

If we stand by, how many voters will be disenfranchised due to changes in voting rules? If we sit on the sidelines, how many people will come to the polls with a utility bill and be turned away because they need a government issued-ID? If we say nothing, how many people will be erroneously purged from county voter registration rolls? IF WE DO NOTHING, how many people will be denied the opportunity to register to vote because community and religious groups can no longer hold voter registration drives? In the past year, more states have passed more laws pushing more voters out of the ballot box than at any time since the rise of Jim Crow. Join my colleagues and me. Get angry. The time for action is now!

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