Clinton wants voting rights overhaul, more early voting

AP News
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Posted: Jun 03, 2015 6:11 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking an expansion of voting rights, Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to call for an early voting period of at least 20 days in every state and push back against Republican-led states that have sought restrictions on voting access.

The Democratic presidential candidate is speaking Thursday at Texas Southern University in Houston, a historically black university. Democrats have filed legal challenges to voting changes from GOP lawmakers in the presidential battleground states of Ohio and Wisconsin.

Clinton's campaign said she intends to denounce voting restrictions in North Carolina, Texas, Florida and Wisconsin and encourage states to adopt a new national standard of no fewer than 20 days of early in-person voting, including weekend and evening voting.

About 20 million people voted early in the 2014 elections. However, about one-third of states do not have any early voting.

The former secretary of state will also urge Congress to take steps to address a 2013 Supreme Court ruling striking down a portion of the Voting Rights Act.

Clinton said at the time of the decision, in a speech to the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, that the court had "struck at the heart" of the landmark law and warned that it would make it difficult for the poor, elderly, minorities and working people to vote.

Clinton's comments will be closely watched by black voters, who supported President Barack Obama in large numbers and have said that voting rights restrictions unfairly target minority voters. The event Thursday will be hosted by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, and Clinton will be honored with an award named after Barbara Jordan, the late Texas congresswoman and civil rights leader.

Clinton is also expected to urge the full adoption of the recommendations of Obama's bipartisan commission on voting administration.

The Democratic front-runner is making the speech during a fundraising trip through Texas, where she is holding private events with financial donors in Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and Houston.