WASHINGTON - September 21 - League of Women Voters National President Mary G. Wilson today strongly denounced yesterday's House passage of the so-called "Federal Election Integrity Act" (H.R. 4844). The legislation requires eligible citizens to present government-issued, current and valid photo identification at the polling place in 2008 and proof of citizenship by 2010.
"This is a truly sad day for our nation. The House of Representatives voted in favor of legislation that masquerades as protection against voter identity fraud. In reality, this bill is a means to discriminate against legal, eligible voters," said Wilson.
"Any proposal that restricts voter registration or raises barriers to voting is a fear-based approach instead of a fact- based solution," Wilson stated.
"Some would have you believe that this legislation cures voter identity fraud," continued Wilson. "But there remains a lack of evidence of instances in which voters misrepresent their identity at the polls."
"It sounds good to stand on the floor of Congress and demand equality and fairness in elections, but when one takes a closer look behind the political smokescreen, it is clear that this bill's restrictions will disproportionately impact those who are least likely to have a current photo ID: the elderly, young people, people of color, rural voters and others," said Wilson.
"In modern society, it is easy to assume that everyone has appropriate ID or can prove their citizenship. But it is more difficult than one might think," Wilson said. "The costs in time and money of obtaining proof of citizenship and photo ID would clearly discourage voter participation."
"The League hopes members of the Senate will do the right thing for all voters by voting against this legislation and a return to the dark days of exclusion, which relied on such measures as literacy tests and poll taxes," Wilson stated. The league sent two letters to members of Congress over the past few months strongly urging them to oppose H.R. 4844.
"Congress should not be playing politics with our right to vote. The League and our members in communities nationwide will work to keep this bill from passing the Senate and becoming the law of the land," concluded Wilson.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Reporters may contact Maggie Duncan -- firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-263-1332 -- for media interviews with League President Mary G. Wilson.