A standing room only crowd filled the House Judiciary Committee hearing room on April 21st, as nine members of Congress and two hundred activists and Congressional staff gathered for a historic briefing on the most pressing issues of 2016; voter suppression and manipulation of US elections.
This urgent and timely Congressional briefing exposed state voter suppression laws and practices that could stop approximately 1.3 million Americans from voting in competitive states. Thirty-two states have promulgated new Jim Crow laws to combat the largely mythical "voter fraud." Sixteen of these states will see their plans go into effect for the crucial 2016 elections.
These include, but are not limited to, proof of citizenship, strict photo ID requirements, early voting cutbacks, and practices that create extreme waiting lines.
This is happening predominantly in precincts with a large presence of African Americans, Hispanics, and university students.
The nine members of Congress who spoke, all from predominantly minority districts, loudly condemned the "new Jim Crow" laws that have been forced on over half the states in the US, and which the lawmakers believe were designed to deliberately suppress voters in their districts, particularly people of color, the poor, the elderly and students.
Additionally speakers addressed the crisis of our aging, privately controlled voting machines and insecure vote-counting technology that pose serious questions about vulnerability and accuracy of our election results.
"I want you to know that I like the diversity of the color of the make up of this room. We have white brothers and sisters, we have African Americans, we have Hispanics now concerned about this. . . Are we motived to go out and do even more than we were going to do before?"
- Representative John Conyers
Rep. John Conyers
Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee
Rep. Maxine Waters
Rep. Alma Adams
Rep. Terri Sewell
Rep. Marc Veasey
Rep. G.K. Butterfield
Rep. Elija Cummings
Rep. Hank Johnson
Rev. William Barber
Executive Director, N.C. NAACP
Leader, Moral Monday Movement
Barbara R. Arnwine
Transformative Justice Coalition
Former Executive Director, Lawyers’
Committee For Civil Rights Under Law
Robert J. Fitrakis, PhD
Professor, Columbus State College
Election Defense Expert
Contributing Writer, Nation Magazine
Voting Rights Expert
Lindsey Nielson, PhD
University of California, San Diego
Author of the recent UCSD Report
How Voter Suppression Laws
Are Restricting the Vote in
Communities of Color