Jason Kander, the Missouri Democrat who narrowly lost a Senate bid last year, is jumping back into national politics with a new organization aimed at protecting voting rights. The former Missouri secretary of state’s new group, “Let America Vote,” aims to win “the public debate over voter suppression” as Democrats continue to coalesce around voting rights in the wake of calls by President Trump for an investigation into his claim, presented without evidence, that millions of illegal votes were cast in 2016. “Voting in our country has never been easy, and unfortunately it’s never been guaranteed for everyone,” Kander said Tuesday in a statement pointing to the progress made by “brave civil rights leaders. Today, that progress is in danger as laws targeting low-income and minority voters continue popping up across the country. Let America Vote will make the case for voting rights by exposing the real motivations of those who favor voter suppression laws.”
Kander, one of the Democratic Party’s top recruits in the 2016 cycle, ran a close race in red-state Missouri but ultimately lost to Republican Sen. Roy Blunt. One of his campaign ads, which featured the former Army captain assembling a rifle blindfolded while talking about his belief in finding a common ground on gun control, became one of the most popular ads of the election cycle.
Kander styles his new nonprofit as a way to keep up political pressure on the issue, warning that “politicians intent on denying certain Americans the right to vote will first have to consider the political consequences.”
Democrats have long decried Republican efforts to enact voter ID laws, restrictions on early voting and other tactics as attempts to suppress Democratic voters. Republicans counter that pushing issues like voter ID is necessary to ensure accountability and protect from voter fraud, although multiple studies have found that actual voter fraud is incredibly rare.