Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) warned at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday that Republican legislators across the county were attacking the voting rights that civil rights leaders have fought to preserve.
“47 years ago, in the face of opposition from those who said states should have the right to discriminate, America passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965,” Bass said. “People of all races, religions, and backgrounds joined together and fought for that law because every one of us deserves a fair shake and a fair chance at achieving our version of the American dream.”
But today, Bass warned, “one of the darkest shadows of the past century is creeping into this one: one of our most basic rights — the right to vote, a right that we fought for and won — is under attack.”
“Throughout the union, governors and legislators have proposed or passed laws to make it more difficult for individuals to cast their ballots,” Bass said. “We must build and be a part of a nation where ‘justice’ isn’t a catch phrase, but embodies the equality and fairness that our nation’s founders envisioned.”
In contrast to the RNC platform — which explicitly endorses voter ID laws — the Democratic platform says that voter ID laws “can disproportionately burden young voters, people of color, low-income families, people with disabilities, and the elderly.”
But Democrats face an uphill battle in convincing the broad electorate that voter ID laws are problematic. A Rasmussen poll found that 73 percent of Americans support a broadly described voter ID law.
The Obama Justice Department has opposed voter ID laws in South Carolina and Texas but cleared them in Virginia and Rhode Island.
Here is the full text of the Democratic platform’s section on voting rights:
Voting Rights. We believe the right to vote and to have your vote counted is an essential American freedom, and we oppose laws that place unnecessary restrictions on those seeking to exercise that freedom. Democrats have a proud history of standing up for the right to vote. During the Obama administration, the Justice Department has initiated careful, thorough, and independent reviews of proposed voting changes, and it has prevented states from implementing voter identification laws that would be harmful to minority voters. Democrats know that voter identification laws can disproportionately burden young voters, people of color, low-income families, people with disabilities, and the elderly, and we refuse to allow the use of political pretexts to disenfranchise American citizens.