Butterfield Cosponsors the Voter Empowerment Act

Feb 6, 2013
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) has joined 164 of his congressional colleagues, collectively representing about 114 million constituents, as an original co-sponsor of H.R. 12, the Voter Empowerment Act.  Introduced by Congressman John Lewis (GA-05), the Voter Empowerment Act would ensure the protection of voting rights for every eligible American through modernizing the voter registration system, reducing long wait times to vote, and prohibiting deceptive practices that may discourage people from voting – issues that arose during the 2012 election.

“This legislation follows in the footsteps of the 24th Amendment and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which respectively outlawed poll taxes and banned discriminatory voting practices aimed at African-Americans,” said Butterfield.  “Many Americans fought long and hard to ensure equal voting rights for all.  Now that constitutional right is being threatened with suppression tactics cloaked in a need to prevent voter fraud, which is statistically rare.  These new barriers were intentionally constructed to turn back progress and add unnecessary conditions to decrease the eligibility of certain voters.  The Voter Empowerment Act will define the process necessary to ensure each eligible registered voter can and will vote on Election Day.”

Between 2011 and 2012, several state legislatures passed bills to implement voter ID requirements, restrict early voting opportunities, and limit the number of voting machines available at certain precincts.  In 2011, former North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue vetoed the Republican-led voter ID bill that passed in the North Carolina General Assembly.  However, new Governor Pat McCrory has vowed to support a bill requiring voters to show an ID to vote.

“Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy.  If we are stripped of that, then we have been stripped of our equality and freedom.”