Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday accused Republicans including her potential rivals Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Rick Perry of “deliberately trying to stop” young people and minorities — both vital Democratic constituencies — from exercising their right to vote, as she presented an ambitious agenda to make it easier for those groups and other Americans to participate in elections. Speaking at Texas Southern University here in front of her largest crowd yet as a candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, Mrs. Clinton accused Republicans generally of enacting state voting laws based on what she called “a phantom epidemic of election fraud” because they are “scared of letting citizens have their say.”
“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,” Mrs. Clinton told a crowd of about 2,000 in a basketball arena at the historically black campus.
She called for automatic voter registration in every state when young people turn 18, criticized Republican-sponsored voting laws in North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin, and urged Congress to take immediate action to reinstate an important provision of the Voting Rights Act that she said the Supreme Court had “eviscerated” in a 2013 ruling.
In addition to areas she said needed to be addressed, like easier online registration, shorter lines at polling precincts and a minimum of 20 days for early voting before an election, Mrs. Clinton called for a nationwide law modeled on one recently passed in Oregon that automatically adds voters to the rolls when they turn 18, using driver’s license data. Residents would have to opt out to avoid being added to the voter rolls.