President Barack Obama on Wednesday joined the larger Democratic effort to spotlight voting rights ahead of this year’s midterms, blasting “active efforts to deter people from voting. Apparently it’s fairly active here in Texas,” he told supporters at a Houston fundraiser. “The idea that you’d purposely try to prevent people from voting? Un-American. How is it that we’re putting up with that? We don’t have to.” Attorney General Eric Holder delivered his own address to the group Wednesday in New York, recounting the Justice Department’s efforts on the issue since the Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act last year.
“Let me be very clear: Protecting the right to vote — the action that truly makes our nation an exceptional one — will continue to be a priority for this administration, for this Department of Justice, for this president, and for this attorney general,” Holder said.
Democrats see a voting rights pitch as another way to drive up midterm turnout among core Obama voters — most prominently African-Americans, but also Latinos, unmarried women, and current and recently graduated college students — the groups, party operatives point out, most at risk from restrictive voting laws.