Saying there is a need for a “new Voting Rights Act,” U.S. Sen. Cory Booker promised a number of voting reforms if he became president in 2020, including making Election Day a national holiday and restoring the voting rights of ex-felons.
The New Jersey Democrat swung by Atlanta Wednesday and spoke to a crowd of about 150 at Paschal’s, a well-known soul food restaurant.
“It is time for a new Voting Rights Act to finally put an end to systematic attempts to limit access to the ballot box and strip citizens of their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote,” Booker said, The Hill reports.
“During my presidency, we will fight to protect and expand every American’s right to take part in our democracy,” he added.
As part of expanding the ability to vote, Booker also proposed instituting automatic voter registration, which would allow more people to vote by mail, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
To underscore the importance of ensuring all eligible adults get to vote, Booker pointed to Georgia’s recent gubernatorial race, in which Democrat Stacey Abrams failed to best current GOP Gov. Brian Kemp amid Democratic accusations of voter suppression.
“What happens when you have undemocratic elections is you see people who are elected who don’t represent the people,” Booker said, the AJC reports.
As The Hill reports, Booker isn’t the only Dem calling for some form of election law changes:
Several of Booker’s fellow Democratic 2020 candidates have also proposed expanding voting rights. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has called for allowing felons to vote from prison, which is currently only allowed in Maine and Vermont. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) would not commit to supporting the vote for incarcerated felons, but has endorsed enfranchising felons who have completed their sentences.