Klobuchar: “We’ve got to be as sophisticated in Washington as the people trying to mess with us. That’s what civil rights legislation was back in the 60s.”
WASHINGTON – At today’s Senate Rules and Administration Committee field hearing in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. Senator Klobuchar (D-MN), Chairwoman of the Committee, emphasized the need to take bold action and enact basic federal voting standards in response to new laws limiting Americans’ freedom to vote.
“We’ve got to be as sophisticated in Washington as the people trying to mess with us. That’s what civil rights legislation was back in the 60s and...people are doing this again, they’re finding new ways to mess with the fundamental rights of the citizens to vote. And so the way you get at that is you’re supposed to find salvation from the Constitution and from the Federal Government and this is that moment,” Klobuchar said.
“I think one of the messages we take away from this and one of the things that I’ve learned and I know my colleagues have learned here is the devil is in the details in these bills. That if you’re looking for evil, you can find it pretty easily. And that evil is taking a runoff time period, which for those of us in states that don’t have runoffs and think it works fine just to make the final decision in the general election, this is somewhat unique. But if you have a runoff, what they have done here for the last and final election that determines who is going to be the U.S. Senator or other federal offices, they basically have said, “well we’re just going to limit that time to 28 days and guess what? You can’t register during that time anymore because our law says 29 days.” And we know very well that in this last election, 76,000 voters registered during that time. The devil is in the details.
“Or that these dropoff boxes cannot stay open beyond the time of the early voting. So if you were working at night, like Senator Padilla was talking about, some of these voters who were working day and night several jobs, well they can’t go to a dropoff box. And I don’t care if you’re white or black, if you’re in a rural area, if you’re suburban or urban, these rules hurt you. They hurt people, they hurt working people that are trying to vote.
“I come from a state that has some of the best voting laws in terms of making it easier for people to vote with same day registration and the like. As a result, we have the highest voter turnout – Jeff [Merkley (D-OR)] doesn’t like to hear this – almost every single year. And I do want to point out something as we talk about partisanship and what this all means. Our state actually has produced Republican governors, Democratic governors, and Jesse Ventura. And we did that, we did that with open voting laws. And what I see as the difference, when I go around our state, is that when more people vote, even if you might not like the outcome, they feel part of the franchise. The franchise of our democracy.
“So I think it is really important to note for our colleagues back in Washington. We’re all going to have to leave very soon because we don’t want to lose our right to vote in the next vote we’re taking this evening. We have to get on a plane and go back. But, that this is about our very democracy and what we’ve learned here today has been incredibly helpful because so much of this is, like we said, in the details. And that’s why we came today. And we’ve got to be as sophisticated in Washington as the people trying to mess with us. That’s what civil rights legislation was back in the 60s and as Senator Harrell just pointed out, people are doing this again, they’re finding new ways to mess with the fundamental rights of citizens to vote. And so the way you get at that is you’re supposed to find salvation from the Constitution and from the Federal Government. And this is that moment.”
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