Vice President Joe Biden made a pitch for voting rights in a new video for the Democratic National Committee, urging supporters to help the organization's Voter Expansion Project ahead of November's midterms.
“If someone had said to me ten years ago that I'd have to make a pitch for protecting voting rights today I would have said ?you've got to be kidding,' ” said Biden in the three-and-a-half-minute video, posted to YouTube and first reported by MSNBC.
The vice president slammed a number of voter ID laws, saying they unfairly were keeping voters from the polls, as well as the Supreme Court's decision last year to strike down a key part of the Voting Rights Act.
Biden said that voter rights had long had support from both sides of the aisle, and that the Voting Rights Act had been reauthorized in Congress by strong bipartisan margins in 2006.
“I thought at that time the only debate we would be having at that time would be how to expand the voting franchise, but last year when the Supreme Court cut the heart out of the Voting Rights Act it opened up the floodgates to voter suppression, voter suppression efforts nationwide,” he said.
Biden said 50 “restrictive” voting rights bills were being considered across the nation and that 11 states had introduced voter ID laws that toughened access to the polls.
Democrats have launched an effort to push back against such laws, which they say unfairly target young and minority voters. But Republicans and other supporters of voting ID laws say they are needed to prevent electoral fraud.
Biden criticized a number of measures in particular states including Texas, where he said a voter ID law would let people vote by presenting a concealed handgun license, but not a student ID card.
“It’s time to stand up and to fight back. That’s why the Democratic National Committee’s Voter Expansion Project is training staff and volunteers to protect the right to vote all across this nation,” said Biden.
He encouraged supporters to “stand up with us,” and directed them to a website were they could sign-up.
“This is a fight we have to make again, but its a fight we can win again,” said the vice president.