Senate Democrats Hold Hearing on Ways to Protect and Strengthen the Right to Vote

September 19, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, along with U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, held a hearing entitled “Voting Rights Under Fire: Democratic Ideas to Protect and Strengthen Americans’ Constitutional Right to Vote.”

Recent actions by the President’s Election Commission have raised concerns – including invasion of privacy and possible voter suppression – about the real goals of the President’s Election commission.  Democrats used this hearing to hear from experts about the challenges facing Americans in exercising their constitutional right to vote, discuss their ideas to improve access to voting and call on the Administration to work with them. 

“The right to vote is essential for our democracy,” said Senator Stabenow.  “Today, I held a hearing with other Senate Democrats on ways to protect and strengthen voting rights.  I want to thank the excellent witnesses who testified today – you are all leaders in the fight to protect the right to vote!” 

“I’m proud to represent Minnesota—a state which has had the highest voter turnout in the last two national elections, thanks to laws like same day registration that make it easy and convenient to vote,” Senator Klobuchar said. “Our country is stronger when everyone participates. That’s why I’m working to make same day registration available to all Americans and to make voting registration automatic when you turn 18.”

Including Senators Stabenow and Klobuchar, 16 U.S. Senators participated in the hearing.  They were: U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). 

Testimony from the witnesses may be found below and video of the hearing may be found here.

  •  Sherrilyn Ifill; President and Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.TESTIMONY SUPPLEMENT
  •  Vanita Gupta; President, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights TESTIMONY
  •  Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony; President, Detroit Branch NAACP
  •  Thomas A. Saenz; President and General Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund TESTIMONY
  • Natalie Tennant; Former West Virginia Secretary of State and Manager of State Advocacy on the Brennan Center’s Voting Rights and Election Project TESTIMONY