Speaking at Texas Southern University yesterday, 2016 president hopeful Hillary Clinton pushed for voter reform and urged for legislation that would automatically register voters once they turned 18.
During her speech, Clinton called out Republican lawmakers for supporting voter identification laws.
“Today, Republicans are systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of American citizens from voting,” she said, also pushing for a mandatory 20-day period of early voting preceding every election. “What part of democracy are they afraid of?”
In the last five years, Republicans in 21 states have implemented voter registration laws that require voters to present specific forms of identification. However, Clinton points out, those laws disproportionately target “people of color, poor people and young people” who might not have the proper ID.
According to the 2010 Census, 71 percent of Americans are registered to vote, but only a portion actually shows up to vote.
After yesterday’s speech, legal experts believe that voter laws will be an important issue throughout Clinton’s campaign. Republicans argue that the lack of voter identification laws along with an extended early voting period would increase voter fraud, but Clinton says that their concerns are unwarranted.
“We should be clearing the way for more people to vote,” Clinton said, “not putting up every roadblock anyone can imagine.”