Black gay Democrat tears into ‘corrupt’ Republican attempt to ‘intimidate’ voters in impassioned speech

Malcolm Kenyatta

Pennsylvania representative Malcolm Kenyatta has shamed Republican lawmakers for backing legislation that he says will “intimate” people from exercising their right to vote.

The Black gay Democrat tore into Republicans in an impassioned address on the House floor on September 2, drawing attention to a bill that has been decried as an attack on ballot access.

Bill 112-90 allows only brief periods for requesting mail-in ballots and eliminates drop boxes for ballots in Pennsylvania, making it significantly harder for people to vote in the state.

“This actually should not be a contentious issue,” Kenyatta said in his fiery speech. “It should be a bipartisan issue to allow every Pennsylvanian to have access to their fundamental right to vote.

“But what this amendment does is make the process inaccessible for Pennsylvanians. And unfortunately, it has been driven by national politics.”

Bill 112-90 passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives last week and now goes to the state Senate. If successful, it will reduce the deadline for requesting mail-in ballots from 15 days to seven, and counting of those ballots will begin three days before Election Day, not 21.

It would also allow poll watchers to come in from other counties to monitor the voting, having the effect of intimidating voters in cities like Philadelphia, Malcolm Kenyatta said.

Kenyatta fielded boos from those around him as he condemned what he sees as a clear attempt by the Trump administration to suppress voting rights.

“Unfortunately, [the bill] has been driven by a president that wants to make people feel – you can boo if you want, that’s OK!” Kenyatta said, before being ordered by the speaker not to speculate on motive.

“Maybe I’m not allowed to talk about it, but if anyone has two eyes and two ears they know why this amendment is being moved,” he continued.

He went on to question the evidence of voter fraud being used to justify bill 112-90, noting that statistics cited by the chair of the Pennsylvania House Appropriations Committee show an incidence of fraud that is less than one-tenth of 1 percent.

“I wasn’t that good in math class, but that means not even 1 percent of votes,” he said. “Most of those cases involved voter intimidation, which this bill would allow to run rampant.”

Watch the full speech below.