Friday, June 05, 2015

Clinton, in Houston, touts universal voter registration

And an extended early voting period.  Her short talk on expanding voting rights in H-Town yesterday afternoon stomped all over Rick Perry's presidential declaration, and may have even affected turnout at the mayoral forum next door at U of H (in the evening).  And she busted a lot of Republican balls in the process.

"What is happening is a sweeping effort to disempower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people and young people from one end of our country to the other," Clinton said at the historically black Texas Southern University, where she received a leadership award named after the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan.

The former Secretary of State and the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for president also suggested a national requirement for at least 20 days of in-person early voting, including options for weekend and evening voting.

"If families coming out of church on Sunday are inspired to go vote, they should be free to do just that," Clinton said after calling on Congress to replace the portions of the Voting Rights Act struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013.

You may recall that the Texas Legislature passed, in 2013, what was generally acknowledged as the most restrictive voter photo ID bill in the nation.  A federal judge struck it down about a month before the 2014 general election, but the Fifth Circuit quickly reversed that, and with just a few days before early voting was to begin, the Supreme Court -- having quashed several other states' less restrictive laws -- declined to intervene in the Texas case at the last hour.  So we got the lowest recorded voter participation since the Great Depression in the past statewide election cycle.  Oh yeah, Democrats got hammered.


The Fifth is yet to rule on the case, having heard arguments at the end of April.  It will likely go on  to the Supremes after that, perhaps for a final ruling this time next year.  But the SCOTUS declined to stop a similarly harsh law in Wisconsin just this past March.  If the Texas law ultimately stands, Democrats are going to have to keep grinding on their potential voter base to get registered, get ID, and then get their asses to the voting booth.  But photo ID or no, a blue wave is coming, and only the US House -- gerrymandered to hell and back -- may remain red after November of 2016.  The US Senate is primed and ready to revert to Democratic control.  In other words, there may be no stopping the removal of these ridiculous obstacles to citizen participation in Texas elections (save the electorate's own apathy, of course).

Read Clinton's full speech here, and her reference to Oregon as the model.  Or watch it below.

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