For years, voting-rights advocates have been quietly urging Democrats and the Obama administration to fully embrace the fight over access to the ballot as a defining civil-rights issue of our day. This was the week when it finally happened. The heightened rhetoric, which came from President Obama and other heavyweights in his party, is the latest sign that voting rights are likely to be a front-burner issue when Americans go to the polls this fall—at least if Democrats have their way. In a speech at the National Action Network convention in New York City Friday afternoon, Obama used his most forceful language yet on the subject to condemn Republican efforts to make voting harder. “The right to vote is threatened today in a way that it has not been since the Voting Rights Act became law nearly five decades ago,” the president said. “Across the country, Republicans have led efforts to pass laws making it harder, not easier, for people to vote.”
Obama continually linked today’s battles to the historic movement for African-American voting rights half a century ago, invoking the three young civil-rights activists who were murdered in Mississippi in 1964 while registering voters.
“Americans did not stand up and did not march and did not sacrifice to gain the right to vote, for themselves and for others, only to see it denied to their kids and their grandkids,” Obama said, drawing raucous cheers from the crowd. “We’ve got to pay attention to this.”
Obama even took time to dissect the arguments of those who argue that voter ID laws are needed to stop fraud, citing a study showing a fraud rate of just 0.00002%.
“So let’s be clear,” Obama said. “The real voter fraud is people who try to deny our rights by making bogus arguments about voter fraud.”
Full Article: Democrats finally make voting rights a top priority | MSNBC.