Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton is still in the process of choosing signature issues that will help define her candidacy, though she’s apparently basing many of her priorities on feedback from voters she’s meeting on the campaign trail. And what’s on Democrats’ minds?
Evidently, voting rights. According to her press secretary, Clinton will deliver remarks tomorrow addressing Republican-imposed restrictions on voting rights, while also urging Congress to take “swift action” on restoring the Voting Rights Act.
Clinton will deliver the remarks in Houston, Texas – a state that has had more than its share of problems related to new barriers between voters and their democracy.
But it’s important to note that this pushback goes further than just shining a light on the issue. As msnbc’s Zachary Roth reported this week, the Democratic frontrunner’s top campaign lawyer filed “a new legal challenge to a slew of restrictive voting laws signed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.”
The complaint, filed Friday in federal court, charges that the “right [to vote] has been under attack in Wisconsin since Republicans gained control of the governor’s office and both houses of the State Legislature in the 2010 election.”It seeks to overturn not only the state’s controversial voter ID law, but also a host of other restrictive measures that have largely flown under the radar. All these measures, the suit alleges, have already made it harder for Wisconsinites to cast a ballot, and target “African-American, Latino, young, and/or Democratic voters in Wisconsin in particular,” in violation of the Voting Rights Act.
The suit wasn’t filed by Clinton for America, per se, but Marc Elias, the campaign’s general counsel, is one of the lawyers who brought the case.
And it’s not just Wisconsin. Similar litigation is underway in Ohio.
A new federal lawsuit charges that a series of restrictive voting procedures put in place by Ohio Republicans aim to suppress the votes of minorities, students, and other Democratic-leaning groups. […]The suit challenges cuts to Ohio’s early voting opportunities, the elimination of same-day voter registration (known in Ohio as “Golden Week”), restrictive procedures for obtaining absentee ballots, and new rules that could lead to longer lines at the polls by reducing the number of voting machines that counties are required to have on hand. All those policies have been put in place over the last two years by Ohio’s Republican administration or its Republican-controlled legislature.
Again, Team Clinton isn’t officially responsible for the case, but the Ohio suit, like the one in Wisconsin, was brought by Clinton’s general counsel.
To be sure, lawsuits challenging Republican-imposed voting restrictions aren’t new, and it’s not yet clear how these new cases will differ from suits that have already been filed.
Still, there can be little doubt that the Democratic establishment and its standard bearer are taking this issue very seriously.