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Civil rights leader John Lewis spurns effort to stiffen voting policies

Published: Sat, September 29, 2012 @ 12:10 a.m.

‘This is a step backwards,’ civil rights leader asserts

By William K. Alcorn

and David Skolnick



Tightening requirements for voter registration is a deliberate, systematic effort by Republicans to win the presidential election before it takes place, said U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a longtime nationally recognized civil rights leader.

By 1963 at age 23, Lewis was considered one of the top leaders of the civil rights movement. He was an architect of and a keynote speaker at the March on Washington in August 1963.

Lewis, elected U.S. representative for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District in 1986, was the keynote speaker at Friday’s meeting of the Youngstown-Warren Black Caucus at Mr. Anthony’s Banquet Center on South Avenue in Boardman.

Speaking before the caucus, Lewis said it is unbelievable — after all the fights and efforts in the early 1960s to make voting simpler and easier, and passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — that this is happening.

“We made so much progress over the years. This is a step backwards. It’s not a Southern issue; it’s a national issue. Citizens must say, ‘Not on my watch,’” he said.

Earlier Friday, Lewis said outside the Mahoning County Board of Elections that voting should be “as simple as getting a glass of water.”

People died and were beaten fighting for the right to vote for all citizens, he said. Lewis said he received a concussion after being hit in the head by a state trooper during the March 1965 march in Alabama from Selma to Montgomery.

“Don’t let anything stop you from voting,” he said at a news conference outside the elections board on Oak Hill Avenue in Youngstown, and he stressed the importance of early voting, which begins Tuesday.

Lewis is senior chief deputy whip for the Democratic Party in the House, a member of the House Ways & Means Committee, a member of its Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, and ranking member of its Subcommittee on Oversight. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Medal of Freedom, presented to him by President Barack Obama.

Also speaking at the event, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, praised Obama for the economic stimulus package that helped save the Lordstown General Motors complex and get V&M Star started.

He said, through Obama’s efforts, Youngstown is the hub of a new public-private national additive manufacturing creative center. It will transform manufacturing in the United States and be a magnet for people to come to Youngstown and make investments, he added.

“What I’m most grateful for is that the president has taken the needed short-term actions, such as with V&M, and laid the groundwork for the new economy,” Ryan said.

Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner was recognized at the event, and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown was honored as the first black woman to sit on the state’s highest court.


1ytownsteelman(628 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

All we are asking is that a voter verifies that the person who is receiving the ballot is the same person who is marked down in the book. With elections as tight as those we have been having, every vote must be a legitimate vote.

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2mjnovaksr(95 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Surely Rep Lewis isn't talking about legitimate efforts in every state to purge their roles of voters who are dead, have moved to other states, etc. All election boards in every community must insure that voters provide valid ID to register to vote and before voting, so that we do not repeat the illegal voting experienced over the past years fomented by SEIU and ACORN and other groups who would disenfranchise all legal voters by their actions. Voter fraud IS REAL, and most of it is fomented by groups supporting the Socialist Democrat party. Strange isn't it that they always see efforts to assure a clean election as subverting the vote!! And it is equally strange that they do not speak out about the disenfranchised white voters in predominantly black southern precincts! I would say his view is racist, but of course that can't be true because he is black! Whatever the case, I find his point of view self-serving and repugnant. As a society, we need to assure fair and clean elections, and just one illegal vote subverts that process!

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3borylie(790 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Look up the word boleteros. Both parties use them and it's wrong because of the abuse.

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4greene(167 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Mr. Lewis and others in the Race Business can and will make everything, including, " a glass of water," racial. He has been doing this since the early 60's. If voteing is so sacred, which it is, protect it by adhereing to reasonable requirments.
Mr. Lewis belives he is still relevent.

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5eagleye(59 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

The real voter suppression is having illegal voters cast their ballots and throw an election from the honest and legally registered voters. THAT IS THE THE REAL VOTER SUPRESSION. Lewis, Schiavoni, and Gerberry are liars and they know it. They definitely have been getting the daily DNC enema of lying talking points. Betras has to be the guy holding the douche bag. Here's the facts: Since at least 2008, the ONLY cases of voter fraud in Ohio and virtually all others in other states have been by, guess who? DEMOCRATS!. The Cleveland party guy who bribed a dirtbag in Defiance and Toledo with cocaine and pot to fill out and submit fraudulent voter registration cards. The Ohio state worker in Columbus who was out there having people fill out fraudulent registrations, the guy in Nevada for the same thing, and the son of a Michigan Congresswoman from the Detroit area, although not direct registration fraud, slashed the tired on a number of vans that the local GOP had leased for taking senior citizens to the polls. See a trend here? The biggest threat to the Democrats are an electorate that can think and read for themselves and actually have the ability to gather facts, analyze them, and make their own decisions. Until then, the Dumbassocrats will do nothing but continue to pander to the young and dumb, the illiterate, the ignorant, and those who are the obedient sheep who stand around waiting for the next handout.

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6steelwagon(284 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Earlier Friday, Lewis said outside the Mahoning County Board of Elections that voting should be “as simple as getting a glass of water.”

So is getting a state i.d. to prove you are who you say you are.
Anyone to lazy to do that has no respect and appreciation for those who fought and sacrificed for your right to vote.

A valid i.d.is easy to get and there's no excuse for not having one.
If these so called leaders were really interested in free and fair elections they would be helping people get their state issued i.d.s' and getting them registered to vote instead of spreading lies and fear.

Those to lazy to get an i.d. and register to vote are also to lazy and ignorant to think for themselves and research anything about either candidate.
And these champions of the lazy and unwashed are just using their laziness,stupidity and ignorance to hold power and control over the same people they claim to be so concerned about.

When the election is over so is the phoney concern.
Turn off the stupidity/reality t.v. and educate and think for yourselves !!

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7commoncitizen(961 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

WHY wouldn't everyone be FOR a voter photo? UNLESS they feel they can vote more them once (or vote for a "dead" person)
Get a National photo ID and the problems solved.
WHY are the Dems against this??

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8cambridge(3013 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Of course voter fraud exists, here is the proof.




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9Lifes2Short(3877 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

""""“We made so much progress over the years. This is a step backwards. It’s not a Southern issue; it’s a national issue. Citizens must say, ‘Not on my watch,’” he said."""

Getting a ID is a step back? Really? You need one to get food stamps and welfare and all the other handouts, don't you?

""Earlier Friday, Lewis said outside the Mahoning County Board of Elections that voting should be “as simple as getting a glass of water.”"""

And getting a ID is not simple as getting a glass of water?

"""Lewis said he received a concussion after being hit in the head by a state trooper during the March 1965 march in Alabama from Selma to Montgomery.""""

And really what is the point of saying this. This was in 1965, like "47" years ago, this is 2012, why is that relevant? Move forward dude, not backwards.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis is nothing but a racist, bringing up the past and blah blah blah. Get a ID and just VOTE. Not that difficult! geez....

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10palmer16121(116 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Cambridge, thanks for bringing that up. Espcially since there's an incident in El Paso County, CO where a worker was trying to get ONLY Romney supporters. The county board of elections there definately knew what was up and decided to speak up about it. In the Florida case...this is the same company that Republicans had hired time and time again when it was nailed for Voter Registration Fraud. Also...for those of you so well...concerned about people voting more than once...once the name goes in the books, you can't vote again. .

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