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ELECTIONS AND VOTING RIGHTS

Comprehensive Voting Rights Constitutional Amendment

There are intersecting barriers that suppress American participation in our elections. Some of these are recent developments in our politics, while others are structural issues held over from the founding. I have introduced H.J.Res 28, a comprehensive voting rights Constitutional amendment that will address problems of disenfranchisement and low voter participation in American elections. My proposed amendment would (1) repeal the Electoral College; (2) constitutionalize the Voting Rights Act and enshrine the individual citizen’s right to vote in the Constitution; (3) give Congress the express power to regulate campaign expenditures and activities from private parties while outlawing foreign interference; (4) outlaw political gerrymandering; (5) enact automatic universal registration for all American citizens over 18 years of age; and (6) establish Election Day as a national holiday and protect working people from retaliation for taking time off to vote.

A detailed white paper on my position on all of these questions is available here.

Voting Rights Act

In 2013 the Supreme Court struck down the Department of Justice’s Voting Rights Act preclearance power, commonly known as Section 5, on a 5-4 vote. Since that case, jurisdictions with a history of discriminatory voting rules have been free to pass new laws limiting access to the vote. And they have taken advantage, enacting arbitrary photo identification requirements, new limits on registering to vote, and cuts to early voting days.

Ever since this decision I have strongly supported measures to undo the Supreme Court’s actions, restore Section 5, and guarantee fair access to the polls for every American. I am a cosponsor of the Voting Rights Amendment Act and the Voting Rights Advancement Act, both of which would reinstate Section 5 and restore the Justice Department’s ability to protect voting rights.

Citizens United

Citizens United was an extraordinary display of judicial activism. The Supreme Court overturned two decades of court precedents to strike down the cap on corporate expenditures in federal campaigns. I strongly support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, and I have cosponsored a number of different resolutions to accomplish that.  I believe that a constitutional amendment is necessary to safeguard our democracy from the powerful influence of narrow corporate and super-wealthy interests.

I am also a cosponsor of the DISCLOSE Act, which would strengthen transparency in federal campaigns and help prevent special interests and big corporations from drowning out the voices of the American people in elections.

Our electoral system must not be captured by a tiny group of the wealthiest contributors.

Gerrymandering

I have been a longtime supporter of common-sense reforms to our election laws to protect voting rights and reinforce the democratic process. I have supported independent redistricting commissions, which would remove district line-drawing authority from partisan legislatures. Gerrymandered districts unfairly cement partisan advantages, and neither party should be able to disenfranchise its political opponents. This Congress, I’m a cosponsor of the Redistricting Reform Act, which would require each state to conduct its once-a-decade redistricting by independent commission, overseen by the federal courts.

Voting Rights Amendment White Paper (05/18/1801:27 PMET )