The Congressional Black Caucus Fights for the Right of the People’s Vote with the Voter Protection Initiative Resolution H.Res. 542

Washington, DC – Today, the Congressional Black Caucus introduced the “For the People” Voter Protection resolution,  H.Res.542.  The resolution has the unanimous support of the Democratic Members of the Congressional Black Caucus.  It condemns the passage of state legislation that strips away the rights of the American people to vote.   Chairman Cleaver encouraged every Member of the House to stand with the Congressional Black Caucus against any law that threatens the right to vote. Throughout the United States, dozens of new suppressive laws have been proposed to prevent the ability of Americans of all demographics to register and vote.  Given the lack of evidence of voter fraud in our nation, it is clear these laws do more to suppress the rights of voters than to safeguard our voting system.  Some states require voters to show government-issued photo identification, often that as many as one in ten voters do not have. Other states have cut back on early voting, a process disproportionately used by millions of disabled, seniors, and people of color.


“These laws will turn back the clock, reawaken ugly periods in our nation’s history where discrimination was commonplace, and the right to vote was only given to a select few”, said Chairman Emanuel Cleaver.  “We must act now–and the Congressional Black Caucus will, as the “Conscience of the Congress– stand united and actively oppose any laws enacted to suppress the right to vote for millions of Americans” he added.


Only two-thirds of America’s eligible citizenry participate in presidential elections and less than half participate in midterm elections. The new voting laws will likely make it much more challenging to cast votes for more than 5.5 million eligible voters.  Members of the Congressional Black Caucus believe that voting is a fundamental right vested to us by the United States Constitution.  For many Americans, the right to vote was not simply handed out, but won through hard fought battles.  While African Americans may have gained the right to vote with the enactment of the 15th Amendment, years of Jim Crow laws and discriminatory literacy tests and poll taxes were passed as poorly veiled attempts to disenfranchise millions, this prevented African Americans from having a true right to vote until the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.  Students and young Americans, while old enough to be drafted into war, were not able to fully participate in our democracy until the 26th Amendment was adopted in 1971.  Given the disproportionate impact the new voting laws will have on voters in our most vulnerable communities the Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are united in working together to ensure fair and equal access for the electorate.


The “For the People” Voter Protection resolution H.Res.542, is included below.


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