Civil Rights Icon John Lewis: GOP Voter Suppression Laws Are ‘Not Right,’ ‘Not Fair,’ ‘Not Just’

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"Civil Rights Icon John Lewis: GOP Voter Suppression Laws Are ‘Not Right,’ ‘Not Fair,’ ‘Not Just’"

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)

At the DNC Thursday night, civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) recounted his fight for voting rights, the progress made, and the continued threat to ensuring the right to vote for all Americans. Lewis, who still bears scars from beatings in his struggle for racial equality told the DNC audience “we have come too far together to ever turn back.” Yet he warned that Republican-led voter suppression laws are taking America back in that direction:

Brothers and sisters, do you want to go back? Or do you want to keep America moving forward? My dear friends, your vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful, nonviolent tool we have to create a more perfect union. Not too long ago, people stood in unmovable lines. They had to pass a so-called literacy test, pay a poll tax. On one occasion, a man was asked to count the number of bubbles in a bar of soap. On another occasion, one was asked to count the jelly beans in a jar—all to keep them from casting their ballots.

Today it is unbelievable that there are Republican officials still trying to stop some people from voting. They are changing the rules, cutting polling hours and imposing requirements intended to suppress the vote. The Republican leader in the Pennsylvania House even bragged that his state’s new voter ID law is “gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state.” That’s not right. That’s not fair. That’s not just.

Watch it:

Courts recently struck down a series of voter suppression tactics spearheaded by Republicans in Florida, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin. Republicans defend many of these tactics as necessary to fight “voter fraud,” but the kinds of voter fraud addressed by the GOP’s favorite tactics are less common than people getting struck by lightning.

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