U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga) reintroduced the Voter Empowerment Act (VEA) on Wednesday in the U.S. House of Representatives, a legislation aimed at improving “access, integrity, and accountability to the U.S. election process.”
The other bill sponsors include Reps. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md), James Clyburn (D-S.C.), John Conyers (D-Minn), and Robert Brady (D-Pa).
VEA hopes to modernize and simplify the voting system to become more accessible to senior citizens, the disabled, members of U.S. military and other Americans living abroad. It also calls for youth outreach programs to encourage voting.
The legislation, if passed, would ensure access to online voter registration, allow same day registration, create a national voter hotline, notify voters when changes are made, provide “informed and reliable poll workers,” among other things. (Click here for VEA fact sheet)
“The right to vote is precious, almost sacred,” said Lewis in a statement. “Too many people in this country had to give their lives to exercise a right already guaranteed them by the Constitution. Outlawing the poll tax 49 years ago does not mean we are finished protecting democratic freedom.
“New challenges to equal access still arise today. To be a credible voice for equal justice abroad, we must be watchful here at home to alleviate every historic and current impediment to the democratic process.”
Lewis represents Georgia’s 5th congressional district.