(Washington, DC) Congresswoman Brown made the following statement:
“In the wake of widespread voting problems across the United States during the 2012 elections, and in particular, in my state of Florida, I am re-introducing the Easy Voting Act in the 113th Congress. Most notably, this bill will require states to allow early voting for 14 days prior to and up to the day of the election, ban voter identification requirements, allow absentee ballots in person at individual polling places on Election Day, and permit same day registration or address changes. Indeed, if enacted, this legislation would open the doors of America’s polling places to an even greater number of America’s voters, and offer Americans more opportunities to cast a ballot, while extending early voting in states across the country. It ensures that voters will not be left to spend Election Day waiting in long lines, and offers more avenues to ensure voter access to the polls.
In the state of Florida, Governor Rick Scott implemented HB 1355, which eliminated early voting on the last Sunday before Election Day and decreased the number of early voting days from 14 to 8. These restrictions were significant contributing factors as to why many Florida voters had to wait in line for three to four hours or more to cast a vote on Election Day. Unfortunately, there is also ample evidence demonstrating that African Americans and Hispanics vote on Sundays in far greater numbers than whites. In fact, statistics show that in the 2008 general election in Florida, 33.2% of those who voted early on the last Sunday before Election Day were African American, while 23.6% were Hispanic.
It is outright embarrassing that just over a decade after the 2000 election debacle that more than half of the states across the nation have taken giant steps backwards with respect to voter inclusivity and the basic right to vote. Given that voting makes up the underlying foundation of our democracy, I believe that contrary to these misguided efforts, it is critical to make it EASIER for people to register and to vote, not to erect more barriers!”