Commentary: On the 50th anniversary of the voting rights act, Republicans make zero references to voting rights

Commentary: On the 50th anniversary of the voting rights act, Republicans make  zero references to voting rights
August 13
00:00 2015

In above photo: Illustration by Ron Rogers for The Chronicle

DNC Press, Guest Columnist

They are trying to make voting harder for minorities, women, young people, and seniors

Tonight (Aug. 6), on the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, not a single Republican candidate made a single reference to the Voting Rights Act.

That’s not surprising.

The fact is that Republicans believe that when fewer people vote – especially minorities, women, students, and the elderly – they win more elections, so they are doing everything they can to make it harder for Americans to vote.

Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio have both attacked early voting in Florida.

Ted Cruz championed voter ID laws.

Rand Paul belittled the need for the Voting Rights Act noting, “We have an African-American president.”

Chris Christie vetoed early voting legislation in New Jersey.

Scott Walker not only signed into law one of the nation’s strictest voter ID laws, he turned around and fundraised off of it.

Democrats continuously fight to ensure that every eligible citizen is able to register, every registered voter is able to vote, and every vote is accurately counted.

Democrats want to make it easier to vote because when more people participate, everyone has a voice – Republicans are trying to make it harder.

How Republican candidates stack up on voting rights

Jeb Bush signed a law limiting early voting and restricting voting locations.

“Early voting proved to be so popular in its first test in Florida last year that election supervisors wanted to expand the hours and add more locations. But the Republican-controlled Legislature rejected both requests, and on Monday Gov. Jeb Bush signed a law limiting the hours of early voting and confining it to election offices, city halls and libraries. The new law limits early voting to no more than eight hours a day, changing the old law that allowed early voting at least eight hours a day. Early voting also cannot be held more than eight hours on any weekend, and it must end the Sunday before the election.” [St. Petersburg Times, 6/21/05]

Rubio suggesting slashing Florida’s early voting period in half – removing the first week – saying that first week “was really not cost effective.” 

RUBIO: “But we also know, for example, that in the early stages of the – of campaigns, we used to have a two-week voting period in Florida. The cost-benefit analysis of the first week of voting was really not – was really not cost effective. In essence, the number of people voting versus the cost to local governments to comply or to carry out that voting were – the turnout just didn’t justify the expenditure in the first week.” [The Buzz, Tampa Bay Times, 6/13/12]

Scott Walker signed a bill requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.

“Ending a decade-long quest by GOP officials, Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill Wednesday requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.” [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 5/25/11]

Politifact: Wisconsin’s voter id law was one of the nation’s strictest.

“Gov. Scott Walker has signed a photo ID requirement for Wisconsin elections starting in 2012. . . Even in its new form, Wisconsin’s law is one of the most restrictive, based on our research on acceptable IDs and voting procedures for those without IDs.” [Politifact Wisconsin, 6/12/11]

Ted Cruz touted his defense of voter ID laws.

“Voter fraud is a serious problem threatening the integrity of our democratic process. Ted Cruz has successfully defended laws requiring voters to show identification and other voter fraud prevention laws that are vital to preserve the integrity of our elections.” [Ted Cruz for Senate, accessed 8/13/12]

Ted Cruz said he would file an amendment that would allow states to require proof of citizenship to register to vote.

“In an effort to counteract a Supreme Court decision Monday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said he intends to file an amendment to immigration reform legislation that allows states to require proof of citizenship to register to vote. He billed his amendment as a response to the 7-2 decision in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council, which struck down an Arizona law that required people to prove their citizenship in order to register to vote. The Court held that the state law was in violation of federal law.” [Talking Points Memo, 6/17/13]

Rand Paul dismissed the need for the voting rights act, saying we’re “beyond that now” adding: “we have an African-American president.”

“The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a key part of the Voting Rights Act — the map that determines which states and localities must get federal permission before they change their voting laws. ‘I haven’t seen the decision yet so I can’t give you a thorough answer other than to say it was a time in our country when the color of your skin did need to factor into voting, but we’ve really gotten beyond that now,’ Paul observes. ‘We have an African-American president. African-Americans are voting at a higher percentage in the last election than whites. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of systemic problem like there was in the South with precluding blacks from voting. So we’re at a point in time in our history where the color of your skin should not be taken into account with voting.’” [Newsmax, 6/25/13]


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