Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist And Voting Rights Leaders To Testify Before Senate Judiciary Committee This Week

WASHINGTON (MONDAY, December 17, 2012) – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Monday that former Florida Governor Charlie Crist will join the witness panel at the Committee’s hearing on voting rights this week.

Crist will offer testimony about the impact of restrictions on voting and the importance of the Voting Rights Act on Wednesday during the Committee’s hearing on “The State Of The Right To Vote After The 2012 Election.” As Florida governor from 2007 to 2011, long lines at the polls and problems posed by the signature requirements for mail-in ballots prompted Crist to sign an executive order extending early voting.

Other witnesses include leading Voting Rights Act advocate Nina Perales, vice president of litigation at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), and state Rep. Gilda Cobb Hunter (D-S.C.), who has opposed South Carolina’s voter ID law in the South Carolina state legislature, highlighting the burdens posed to the ability of her constituents to vote posed by the new law’s requirements.  Each will testify about the problems faced by Americans trying to exercise their right to vote in the 2012 elections.

“These witnesses have each observed the new barriers that have suppressed the ability of millions of Americans to vote in states throughout the country,” Leahy said. “I look forward to learning from this expert panel about problems at the polls during the 2012 elections and how, through oversight, legislation, and continued enforcement of laws like the Voting Rights Act, Congress can help to make sure such abusive practices and barriers to the voting booth are never repeated.”

The Committee hearing will be Wednesday at 10:00am in the Judiciary Committee hearing room. Testimony and a live webcast will be available on the Committee’s website.

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