DNC Vows to Increase Voter Rolls, Fight Voter ID in Run-Up to Midterms
WASHINGTON – Members of the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) resolutions committee approved a series of platform points at the annual winter meeting, including a measure on voter ID with an eye to upcoming midterm elections.
Hundreds of members from all around the country converged in D.C. last week to debate resolutions and rules as well as organize their “ground game” ahead of November elections.
Among the resolutions approved were those in support of some of the major issues on the Democrats’ agenda, including women’s rights, immigration reform, and the minimum wage.
The resolutions committee approved a measure to promote and protect what they see as eroded voting rights.
The measure cites language from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent to the Shelby County v. Holder decision in which she defined “second-generation barriers” to the ballot box as indirect efforts to diminish the impact of minority voters.
The DNC resolution defines second-generation barriers as “an ever growing number of restrictive voting laws such as requiring limited photo identification, proof of citizenship, increasing regulation of third party voter registration drives, and limiting early voting and same day registration opportunities.”
The resolution adopted states that “the Democratic National Committee supports the restoration of a high level of protection for these important rights through a renewed commitment to the Voting Rights.”
The DNC also introduced on Thursday a new voter expansion project aimed at increasing voter registration and turnout ahead of the midterm elections. The program would vary by state depending on state laws and will deploy staff to help register and educate voters.
Donna Brazile, vice chair for voter registration and participation at the DNC, said the program will make sure that “elections are free, and fair, and accessible to all Americans.”
“This is a program that will work alongside the Working Rights Institute to ensure that every American has access to voting booths,” Brazile said. “Our goal is to play offense so that we are out there in the states to expand voter registration opportunities for early voters.”
The DNC’s pushback against new voter ID laws comes nine months before the midterm elections, as the Democrats face mounting challenges at the ballot box in several states.
Democrats hold a 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party), but are defending 21 of 36 seats up in the elections. About half of the seats are in red or purple states.
Democrats say voter ID rules are designed to keep certain groups – minorities and low-income voters – away from polls. Republican supporters of the rules say these are needed to help prevent fraud.
The resolutions committee also approved changes to the language of a resolution in support of a “woman’s economic agenda” – the Democrats’ response to what they call the GOP’s “war on women.”
The resolution includes support measures that provide Americans with “equality of opportunity to reach [their] fullest economic and human potential.”
The new language states that “Democrats are united in advancing the equality of opportunity and in rejecting the troubling wave of GOP state and federal legislative efforts such as Arizona’s SB 1062 to enshrine discrimination.”
Christine Pelosi said the amendment is a response to the “inequality measures that have been introduced by Republicans across the country.”
DNC resolutions are meant to express the views of the party’s members.
Other measures approved include ones commemorating the legacy of the late Nelson Mandela, highlighting Obama’s Economic Opportunity Agenda and affirming the continued commitment of the Democrats to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Most of the resolutions were approved without changes.