Bernie Sanders On Voting Rights

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 30: U.S. Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-VT) speaks on his agenda for America during a news conference on Capitol Hill April 30, 2015 in Washington, DC. Sen. Sanders sent out an e-mail earlier to announce that he will run for U.S. president. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has recently called out Republicans for their continued assault on voting rights and actions promoting the disenfranchisement of the American people.

He has called them “political cowards” for their efforts in restricting rights and using techniques of redistricting to deny people in different areas and of many demographics their voting rights.

Sanders has said that legislation or “maybe a constitutional amendment” could be what is needed to fix this growing issue and protect people in all areas from the consequences of these Republican strategies.

“Maybe this is personal because I run for office. Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win,” Sanders said, when discussing this issue with Rachel Maddow at the MSNBC Democratic 2016 Forum. “It has never occurred to me as a candidate to figure out a way to deny the vote to people because they might vote against me. People who do that are political cowards. They’re afraid of a fair election.”

The Vermont senator has already proposed legislation for making Election Day a national holiday and calling it “Democracy Day.” This will be to combat the extremely low voter turnout that we have been seeing in the last few election cycles in the United States. The low turnout is due to many different issues, but all are concerning the central issue of disenfranchisement of people in many different areas and demographics.

For example, Republican gerrymandering was evident in the 2014 mid-term elections where the Republicans were able to win their largest House majority since before the New Deal. The funds poured in from GOP donors in 2010 and 2011 to back the legislative efforts of redrawing many districts to favor the GOP candidates in later contests and fill offices with new Republican administrations—which they were successful in doing in 2014.

To this point, we can return to a quote from former Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, “All politics is local.”

Not only does it unfairly divide district votes, but when these district lines are redrawn to support a Republican administration, it will make it that much more difficult for any Democrat who is elected to implement any impactful legislative agendas.

“What Republicans are doing is so un-American, so outrageous. It is literally beyond belief,” says Sanders. “They’re political cowards and if they can’t face a free election, they should get another job.”

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