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Sewell opposes the SAVE Act

On Tuesday, Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-Selma) expressed her opposition to the House Republicans' election reform legislation H.R. 8281 – the SAVE Act. Sewell called instead for the House to consider the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act – which she is sponsoring.

Rep. Terri Sewell is the Ranking Member of the Committee on House Administration's Subcommittee on Elections. She spoke on the House floor in strong opposition of H.R. 8281.

"As a daughter of Selma and Representative of Alabama's Civil Rights District, the fight for voting rights is very personal to me," said Sewell. "It was in Selma where hundreds of Foot Soldiers like John Lewis shed blood on a bridge for the equal right of all Americans to vote. They marched, they bled, they prayed, and some even died for the right to vote. Mister Speaker, the legislation before us today makes a mockery of their legacy. House Republicans' so-called "SAVE Act" is a dangerous, anti-democratic bill that would do nothing to protect our elections."

"While our colleagues across the aisle claim that this bill would prevent non-citizens from voting, we know that it is already illegal for non-citizens to vote in federal elections," Sewell continued. "In fact, under current law, non-citizens would face up to 5 years in prison for attempting to vote in federal elections, and even risk being deported. In reality, this legislation would purge thousands of eligible voters from the rolls including Americans who recently got married and changed their last names and those with military and tribal IDs."

"Americans should see this bill for what it is, a cynical attempt to sow doubt in the minds of voters about the integrity of our elections," Sewell continued. "It is yet another attempt to fan the flames of election denial by the same extremists who brought us the January 6th insurrection. Mister Speaker, we are elected officials who should be fighting to protect and expand access to the ballot box, not restrict it. We should be working to advance the progress made by the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Movements, rather than rolling it back. But let's be clear, the biggest threat to our elections is not non-citizen voting. It is the lack of federal oversight which has allowed for states to advance hundreds of new laws and new bills making it harder for Americans to vote."

"Mister Speaker, the House should be considering H.R. 14, the John Robert Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which I introduced in September," Sewell stated. "H.R. 14 would restore federal oversight. It would establish a new formula to prevent states with a recent history of voter discrimination from restricting voter access. In doing so, it would protect access to the ballot box for every eligible American. With state lawmakers working overtime to erect barriers to the ballot box, the need for federal voting rights protections is just as urgent today as it was 60 years ago. After all, it is up to the voters to choose our elected leaders, not the other way around. Never did I think that 60 years after John Lewis was bludgeoned on a bridge in my hometown of Selma, Alabama, that I would be fighting to restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It goes to show that progress is elusive and every generation must fight to preserve the progress of the past and to advance it. John Lewis didn't give up and neither will we."

"Mister Speaker, House Republicans' so-called SAVE Act is a dangerous, anti-democratic bill that has no place on this floor," concluded Sewell. "Is it for that reason that at the appropriate time, I will be offering a motion to recommit this bill back to the committee. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting the Motion to Recommit."

The Safeguard American Voter Eligibility (SAVE) Act would amend the National Voter Registration Act, requiring states to obtain proof of citizenship from voters for federal elections, and purging non-citizens from voter rolls.

The bill has been endorsed by former President Donald J. Trump (R).

"Republicans must pass the Save Act, or go home and cry yourself to sleep," President Trump said on Truth Social.

Terri Sewell has represented Alabama's Seventh Congressional District since her first election in 2010. She is an attorney.

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