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Restoring Integrity to America’s Elections Act

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Mr. President,

 

I second the amendment offered by the Gentleman from Texas.

 

I yield.

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Mr. President,

 

I feel as if we are back fifty years ago denying American people the right to vote simply because of the illusion of voter fraud. This amendment would overhaul our nation's voting policy by implementing a nationwide requirement for presentation of an Identification Card when submitting a ballot for federal elections. This amendment is nonsince and if a Senator claims that this combats voter fraud they are simply wrong and aren't seeing eye to eye with the facts about misidentification at the polling place. Mr. President, this amendment would greatly affect many elderly men and women, minorities and many poor Americans. In many jurisdictions, it can be costly just to even to pay fees for an ID card. In my state it costs thirty-five or forty dollars, depending on which county you live in, to pay a fee for an ID card. In the Minority Leader's state Texans must pay a fee of sixteen dollars which for many here may not be a big deal but for those who are poor sixteen dollars is still a lot of money. 

 

I am very appalled by the amendment and am reminded of our counties troubling history of restricting ballot access to citizens. I shake my head and just conclude with shame on the Senate GOP for proposing this Amendment.

 

I yield.

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Mr President,

 

I make no apology for introducing an amendment to restore real integrity to American elections. But the amendment is not as clear cut as some of the members opposite might suggest. My amendment would require ID for casting a federal ballot yes, but it would not prohibit outright that persons ability to vote. A provisional ballot will be cast, and that person will have a chance to attain identification or receive an affidavit excluding them from the process. 

 

The Senator from Hawaii talks about being unable to afford an ID, but it's clear he hasn't read the amendment. I note the last sentence of the plain English summary I attached for the benefit of the members of the chamber:

 

If an individual presents an election official with an affidavit attesting that the individual is unable to afford to obtain a valid photo identification, the official shall provide the individual with a valid photo identification without charge.

 

I ask him to read the whole amendment and not just the first section, then I hope, he will rethink his opposition.

 

I yield.

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Mr. President, 

 

Even if the amendment still promotes free ID cards for individuals, it still poses barriers for Americans who simply want to vote. Similar to Literacy tests in the South, African Americans were allowed to vote but ONLY, I repeat only, if they can pass a literacy test. It was difficult for them to even pass because much of the information that was tested was something that many Blacks at the time and I can argue many Americans today can't provide the answer to because of how specific the tests were. Before the Minority Leader tries to say that I am comparing this to literacy tests to his amendment, I will say this. This amendment may not be asking voters if they can read, but it is similar to the same thing that Literacy tests have done set a hurdle for Americans. 

 

My question to the Minority Leader is this: do you really think a mother would have time to produce an affidavit working a minimum wage job? Do you think a senior would be able to produce an affidavit having to worry about other important issues when it is much more simple for them to go to a polling place, which many of them have been voting at for probably their whole life? This is nothing but another attempt to attack the most vulnerable?  Mr. President, I think the Senator is scared that expanding the electorate will make him more vulnerable to answering to his constituents. So Mr. President, I still oppose this bill and will vote no and encourage my colleagues to join me and vote no.

 

I yield.

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Mr President,

 

I applaud the Senator from Hawaii for moving the goalposts. Before he talked about sections of the amendment which weren't even part of the amendment. Now he talks about things which are in no way related to the amendment. He is partisan, he will vote nay because it is a Republican amendment. He doesn't look at the substance of the amendment and that is shameful. 

 

This amendment doesn't limit the electorate... there is free ID cards available to those that can't afford it. 

 

He is talking nonsense.

 

I yield.

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Mr. President, 

 

I’ll have the gentleman know that protecting voting rights is not partisan. I may be a Democrat and am a bit more to the left on issues than many members of my party. But the statement by the Minority Leader that is simply bit against this amendment because it’s written by a Republican is purely false. I’ve supported legislation written by republicans and have even introduced bipartisan bills. I supported the motion by the republicans to add a GOP sponsored amendment to hurricane relief being vocal about it on the Senate Floor. 

 

However, let us not get side tracked about the issue here. This amendment as I said, which has also been supported by anti-immigrant movements will do nothing but harm low income and elderly voters. I ask the Senator, in the spirit of bipartisanship, to pull his amendment and let’s pass this bill with no riders. I could be partisan and propose an amendment regarding to PACs and Big money in campaign finance reform, but I know that it is difficult to pass on this bill because of a divided issue pertaining to campaign finance reform. 

 

Mr. President, I again rise in opposition to this amendment and will vote no on the amendments passage. 

 

I yield. 

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Mr President

 

The Senator from Hawaii didnt even know what the amendment was about. So it means he is voting against the bill because it is written by a Republican.

 

I yield

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Mr. President,

 

The Senator from Texas should just withdraw the amendment. Either way, this is a distraction to what the FEC Reform bill is intended to do. Can we please move to pass this bill with no riders?

 

I yield.

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Mr. President,

 

Will the duly-seconded amendment offered by the Senator from Texas be brought to a vote before this body?

 

I yield.

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((I'm occupied at the moment. When I get the time, the vote will be brought up))

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Mr. President,

 

This is a bill designed to reform the Federal Election Commission. If the Minority Leader would like to look into legislation that looks into voter fraud, I'm happy to do that, but we all know that voter fraud is incredibly uncommon, and traditionally, a way to distract from actual electoral reform. Attempting to take a piece of legislation that makes sense, and would actually improve government, should be a no-brainer, but the Minority Leader has chosen to attempt to derail it with an amendment that is pretty ungermane to the text of the legislation. Let's pass this legislation, that will actually do good, and improve the processes and procedures of the Federal Election Commission! I wish to move for cloture, effective at the end of the vote on Mr. Saunders amendment. 

 

I yield. 

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Mr President, 

 

I will be voting no on this piece of legislation in its current form 

 

I yield.

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