The 2020 Candidates on Voting Rights

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Where are the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates on the issue of voting rights?

Voting rights was identified by the 2018 midterm voters as one of their most pressing concerns, and is one of the seven issues I covered in my 2020 candidate guides. Many of the readers here at Political⚡Charge asked me to organize the information in those guides by issue, and so, by popular demand, here we are.

In alpha order, here are where the 2020 candidates stand on the issue of voting rights. You can click on the candidate’s names to go their campaign website to learn more.

Michael Bennet

Voter ID: “Sixteen senators led by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) submitted a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder last week asking him to examine whether the Voting Rights Act’s prohibitions on laws preventing minorities from voting invalidate so-called “voter ID” laws, which effectively disenfranchise thousands of elderly, disabled, and low-income voters.” Source

Restoring the Voting Rights Act: “On the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act becoming law, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet cosponsored the Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA) of 2015 to restore and advance voting protections for all Americans.” Source 

Expanding Voting Rights: “He supports expanding voting protections, changing redistricting laws that suppress the voting rights of minorities, and simplifying the voting process through measures, such as same-day registration.” Source 

 

Joe Biden

Voting Rights: “Calling it one of the most important actions Congress will take this year (2006), U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. today praised the Senate for passing legislation that would renew key sections of the landmark Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965, a bill that banned discriminatory practices such as literacy tests and poll taxes, designed to deny African Americans the right to vote.” Source

Voter ID: “Biden criticized recent bills introduced in states that would require tougher voter identification standards.” Source  

Expanding Voting Rights: “In a new online video, Vice President Joe Biden blasts ongoing Republican efforts to make voting more difficult, and urges supporters to join the growing effort to push back.” Source 

 

Cory Booker

Voter ID: Booker has introduced legislation to reduce or abolish voter ID as they “have a disproportionate impact on poor folks.” Source

Felony Voting Disenfranchisement: “Booker also pointed to the mass imprisonment of nonviolent felons as a threat to voting rights. In 2010, he said, 5.85 million citizens were denied their right to vote because of previous convictions, which he described as a population equivalent to the “20th biggest state in our nation.” Source 

Restoring the Voting Rights Act: “Voting is a right. But due to restrictive voter ID laws, many are denied their right to vote. We must restore the Voting Rights Act and ensure everyone has the ability to cast their vote.” Source 

Expanding Voting Rights: “I am troubled by continued efforts to roll back provisions of the Voting Rights Act, which still has a central role to play in protecting vital American civil rights. The right to vote is fundamental and must be protected.” In 2015, Booker introduced the Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA) to target certain voter suppression practices. Source 

 

Pete Buttigieg

Voter ID: “… there is still much more work to be done to ensure that our democracy is accessible to as many citizens as possible. We combat discriminatory voter-ID laws and we press for the expansion of early voting, automatic voter registration, and the reform of non-democratic structures like the Electoral College and the gerrymandered House. The people should pick their representatives, not the other way around.” Source

Voter Suppression: “It’s worth questioning why anybody in politics is motivated to do this. If you stand to be at a disadvantage when more people vote, then the problem isn’t with the voters — the problem is with you. Why wouldn’t we want every eligible voter to vote and win fair and square a contest of ideas among those voters?” Source

Increasing Turnout: “Though he acknowledges that historically the voter turnout rate for young people is lower than the voter turnout rate overall, he believes in its potential to be activated. When he was an undergraduate at Harvard, Buttigieg worked on a team researching low voter turnout among young people.” Source

Expanding Voting Rights: “Buttigieg is right about this, as he is right about the need for an ambitious democracy agenda that includes support for the extension of voting rights, for securing full representation for the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico in the Congress, for bold action to address gerrymandering and voter suppression and for necessary steps to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.” Source

Electoral College: “Well, first of all, we’ve got to repair our democracy. The Electoral College needs to go, because it’s made our society less and less democratic.” Source

Statehood: “He wants Washington, D.C., to become a state, which is something that Democrats have long wanted and Republicans have long resisted. Give statehood to Puerto Rico too.” Source

 

Julian Castro

Voter ID:  Julian Castro endorsed “broadening democratic participation by making it easier for people to participate than by making it more difficult, as some have tried to do, with these voter roll purges, shortening early voting periods and unnecessary voter ID laws.” Source 

Restoring the Voting Rights Act:  “The enormous efforts that went into electoral reform are one of the fundamental differences between my mom running for City Council and failing to win at age 23, and me winning a seat 30 years later at age 26. We needed the federal government to extend Voting Rights Act protections to Latinos in 1975. We needed the creation of localized electoral districts in San Antonio in 1977. And even before all of that we’d needed the elimination of the Texas poll tax in 1966, which over time had enfranchised many more people. Each of these reforms made a tremendous difference in the ability of the Latino community to participate in elections.” Source 

Expanding Voting Rights: “…we do see in the U.S. many clever newer ways to discriminate against voters of color — and all claiming to prevent “voter fraud” that doesn’t even exist. We’ve seen so many examples of this in my home state of Texas. … So the first order of business for Democrats as they take back state legislatures and governorships in 2018 should be to make it easier and more convenient for eligible voters to go out and vote, and for those not registered to get registered to vote. We need to peel back all of these terrible and unnecessary regulations that have created a wall against voting.” Source 

 

John Delaney

Voter Registration: “He also supports automatic voter registration and same day registration.” Source

Gerrymandering: “In his presidential stump-speeches, Delaney has reportedly adopted gerrymandering and campaign finance reform two of the key concerns he wishes to address.” Source

Restoring the Voting Rights Act: “John supports the Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would require that states with a history of violating voting rights get approval from the Department of Justice before making any changes to election procedures or voting requirements.” Source 

Expanding Voting Rights: “As a congressman, Delaney introduced the Open Our Democracy Act, legislation aimed at ending gerrymandering and establishing Election Day as a federal holiday.” Source 

 

Kirsten Gillibrand

Voter Registration: “In 2014, Gillibrand proposed expanded voter registration, including online registration and modernization of registration systems.” Source 

Improving Voting:In 2016, she was a co-sponsor of the Voter Empowerment Act, reintroduced in the Senate. This bill improves voter registration, enhances the safety of voting systems, and reauthorizes the Election Assistance Commission.” Source 

Judicial Opposition: Gillibrand opposed the confirmation of Thomas Farr for a lifetime seat on the federal bench because of his discriminatory record on voting rights. Source 

Restoring the Voting Rights Act:  “The Voting Rights Act has been a cornerstone of ensuring the rights won in the Civil Rights movement continue to stand strong today. The Supreme Court’s ruling is a significant setback that will put Congress to the test of whether we can move quickly and without partisanship. I urge my colleagues to meet that test.” Source 

 

Kamala Harris

Voter ID: After the Supreme Court decided not to reinstate North Carolina’s voter ID law, which a lower court said targeted African Americans, Kamala Harris tweeted, “An important win for voting rights: a major voter suppression law will not be reviewed by the Supreme Court.” Source

Felony Voting Disenfranchisement: As CA Attorney General, Harris threw her support behind a bill to expand voting rights to individuals with felony convictions on post-release community supervision. Source 

Restoring the Voting Rights Act: As CA Attorney General, Harris submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Source 

Expanding Voting Rights: “As Trump attempts to restrict voting rights, we have to work to make it *easier* for everyone to vote. That means legislation to strengthen protections against discriminatory laws, modernize voter systems, and expand early voting.”  Source

 

John Hickenlooper

Expanding Voting Rights: In 2013, Hickenlooper signed into law a major expansion of voting rights in Colorado. “The Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act includes a number of provisions that would make it easier to register and vote. With the governor’s signature Friday, Colorado is now the 11th state to enact Election-Day registration, which leads to higher registration rates and turnout. The bill institutes a system of portable registration, so that when voters move they can still cast a ballot which will count. It also establishes a bipartisan election modernization task force, paving the way for future reforms. Further, the bill eliminates the problematic “inactive – failed to vote” status that led to voters being denied ballots in certain elections simply because they had failed to vote a single time.” Source 

 

Jay Inslee

Voting Rights: ““I am proud to support the Washington Voting Rights Act bill. It will help ensure that local democracy is accountable and fair. … It is crucial that all voices are heard and all neighborhoods are represented in local government. This bill would make a positive impact across the state and ensure that our government is truly of the people, by the people and for the people.” Source

Native American Voting Rights: “Gov. Jay Inslee recently signed the Native American Voting Rights Act, which allows the residential address portion of a voter registration form to be filled out with a nontraditional address. The new law will “allow tribal members to help us form a more perfect union and make good decisions about our destiny.” Source

Voting Rights Legislation: “Besides the Voting Rights Act, Inslee signed into law a measure that will allow 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote. Another bill allows for same-day voter registration. The fourth measure lets automatic registration for people getting state ID cards or enhanced driver’s licenses.” Source

 

Amy Klobuchar

Voter ID: Klobuchar is not in favor of restrictive Voter ID laws. Source

Barriers for Seniors: Klobuchar was the co-author of a study that looked at the many voting barriers that older Americans face. The report also recommended steps to fixing the issues. Source

Restoring the Voting Rights Act: “I am also an original cosponsor of legislation that would update the Voting Rights Act.” Source

Election Security: “In 2017, she introduced legislation designed to increase transparency in online election advertising. It would put more online communications under the purview of election law, and require social media companies to keep more information about who buys what advertisements and who they target.” Source

Voter Rolls: In June 2018, Klobuchar and Sherrod Brown introduced the Save Voters Act, a bill that would serve as an amendment to the National Voter Registration Act while asserting that a state cannot use an individual’s failure to vote or respond to a state notice as reason for removing them from voter rolls. Source

Expanding Voting Rights: Klobuchar has tried to pass legislation that would allow voters in every state to register on the day of an election. Source

Modernizing Elections: “On December 21, 2017, Klobuchar was one of six senators to introduce the Secure Elections Act, legislation authorizing block grants to states to update outdated voting technology as well as form a program for an independent panel of experts that would work toward the development of cybersecurity guidelines for election systems that states could then implement, along with offering states resources to install the recommendations.” Source

 

Beto O’Rourke

Voter ID: O’Rourke signed onto legislation that would have banned requiring voter IDs to vote. Source

Felony Voting Disenfranchisement: “He also emphasized rehabilitation for offenders released from prison, including the restoration of voting rights.” Source 

Expanding the Voting Rights Act: “As president, I will sign into law a new Voting Rights Act,” O’Rourke said. “Together, we will end gerrymandering, we will get big money out of our politics, and all across this country, we will have automatic and same-day voter registration.” Source 

Expanding Voting Rights: O’Rourke co-sponsored H.R.12 & S.1088 in 2015 that would have expanded automatic voter registration to all states. Source 

 

Bernie Sanders

Voter ID: “Voter ID laws aren’t really intended to discourage fraud, they’re intended to discourage voting.” Source

Felony Voting Disenfranchisement: “Says felons should be allowed to vote while in prison.” Source 

Restoring the Voting Rights Act: “We must demand that Congress restore the Voting Rights Act to protect minority voters from being disenfranchised and discriminated against in states and counties that have a pattern of doing just that.” Source 

Expanding Voting Rights: “We must insist that the Voting Rights Act be expanded in scope so that no American, regardless of skin color or national origin or age, is prevented from voting freely, without hindrance from local authorities. We must make Election Day a national holiday, register all eligible voters automatically and put an end to discriminatory laws and voter roll purging.” Source 

 

Eric Swalwell

Voter ID: Swalwell signed legislation that would ban voter ID requirements at the polling locations. Source

Prisoners Voting: “Some people, like the Boston marathon bombers, those individuals should never vote in America again.” Source 

Expanding the Voting Rights Act: “He’s also co-sponsored multiple items of legislation to increase transparency in campaign finance, expand public funding of elections, bolster the Voting Rights Act, and require states to use independent commissions to draw congressional districts.” Source

Expanding Voting Rights: Swalwell favors a national automatic voter registration system, and have voted for legislation including that provision. Source 

 

Elizabeth Warren

Voter Registration: “And while we’re at it, we need to update the rules around voting. Voting should be simple. Voter registration should be automatic. Get a driver’s license, get registered automatically.” Source

Felony Voting Disenfranchisement: “Nonviolent, law-abiding citizens should not lose the right to vote because of a prior conviction.” Source

Restoring the Voting Rights Act: “Two years ago the Supreme Court eviscerated critical parts of the Voting Rights Act. Congress could easily fix this, and Democrats in the Senate have called for restoration of voting rights. Now it is time for Republicans to step up to support a restoration of the Voting Rights Act–or to stand before the American people and explain why they have abandoned America’s most cherished liberty, the right to vote.” Source

Expanding Voting Rights: “Politicians are supposed to compete over how many voters they can persuade, not how many citizens they can disqualify or demoralize. We must eliminate unnecessary and unjustified rules that make voting more difficult, and overturn every single voter suppression rule that racist politicians use to steal votes from people of color. We need to outlaw partisan gerrymandering by Democrats and Republicans.” Source 

Expanding Voting Rights: “Early voting and vote by mail would give fast food and retail workers who don’t get holidays day off a chance to proudly cast their votes. The hidden discrimination that comes with purging voter rolls and short-staffing polling places must stop.” Source

 

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Categories: 2020 Candidates, Explainers

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1 reply

  1. Reblogged this on Bennet Kelley's Clippings & More and commented:
    Political Charge’s ongoing profiles – 2020 Candidates on Voting Rights.

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