WASHINGTON — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is introducing the Voter Empowerment Act Friday, a measure designed to protect voting rights as dozens of states have recently passed laws adding restrictions to voting.
The measure seeks to both expand voter registration, a goal of voting-rights activists, and ensure “integrity,” which authors of state laws cite as the reason to pass such restrictive voter ID laws.
“We’ve come too far in our nation’s history to re-fight old battles over voting rights that already have been won,” Gillibrand said in a statement. “Instead of adding new burdens on voters, we should be giving them new protections. Ensuring that every vote counts is a cornerstone of our democracy that should be embraced by both sides of the aisle.”
Gillibrand joins Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a leader in the civil rights movement who marched at “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Ala. At the Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C., Lewis linked his experience in the civil rights movement to GOP efforts to “suppress the vote.” Lewis has already introduced the Voter Empowerment Act in the House.