Hillary Clinton laid out her vision for voting rights reform yesterday during a speech at Texas Southern University, a historically black institution. The Democratic presidential hopeful was on campus to receive the Barbara Jordan Public-Private Leadership Award, and she used her time to call for universal automatic voter registration for all Americans at age 18 and a nationwide policy of allowing 20+ days for early voting. She also condemned Republicans for passing voting laws in Texas, Ohio, North Carolina and Wisconsin that often restrict voting-booth access for non-whites and students.
Clinton also urged Congress to give the federal government power to review pending state voting law changes. It was a direct response to the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which struck down a Voting Rights Act provision that required certain states—including Texas—to have such changes cleared by the Justice Department or a panel of federal judges.
Clinton also called out many of the GOP presidential candidates by name, citing their past comments and legislation that limited voting rights. “What part of democracy are they afraid of?” she asked. “We have a responsibility to say clearly and directly what’s really going on in our country, because 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.”
Visit C-Span’s website to watch former Secretary of State’s full remarks about voter reform starting at 27:21.