Clinton: Voters under 'assault'
February 27th, 2014
09:18 AM ET
7 months ago

Clinton: Voters under 'assault'

Washington (CNN) - The Democratic Party is showcasing former President Bill Clinton to help launch a new program to expand voters' access to polls.

An announcement Thursday by the Democratic National Committee comes as the party committee kicks off its Winter Meeting here in the nation's capital. During three days of meetings, the DNC has its eyes on this year's midterm elections, as the party aims to hold onto its majority in the Senate, attempts the extremely challenging effort to recapture control of the House of Representatives, and tries to make gains in governors' offices.


But the party committee also has its sights set on the 2016 presidential campaign, which is just on the horizon, and will begin discussions on such crucial issues as the primary calendar and when the Democrats should hold their nominating convention.

Voter rights push

"Today, there is no greater assault on our core values than the rampant efforts to restrict the right to vote," says Clinton in a nearly five-minute video that the DNC put up on YouTube Thursday morning.

The DNC says it will set up a permanent in-house team, as well put staff in key battleground states, in an effort to increase early voting, online voter reigstration, and fight against voter identification laws which the party decribes as a move by Republicans to lower voter participation.

The battle over voting requirements between the two parties has become more fierce over the past couple of years, as a number of states passed stricter voter ID laws. Some of those measures have been overturned in the courts.

Republicans who back tougher voter ID laws say they are needed to reduce voter fraud. Democrats argue that the laws are aimed at preventing the type of voters who tend to support Democrats from casting ballots.

The former president said such moves are "designed to make it harder for working people, especially people of color, the elderly, those with disabilities, and young college students, to get to the polls. To form that more perfect union we have to expand rights, not take them away."

"It's not enough anymore just to be against these new voting restrictions. We need to get back on the road forward and work for more and easier voting," Clinton added.

Brazile: Why your vote should count

Eye on midterms

The DNC's pushback against the new voter ID laws and the move to expand voter rights comes as the party faces challenges at the ballot box this November. Democrats hold a 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party), but are defending 21 of the 36 seats up in November's midterm elections. And half of the seats Democrats are defending are located in red or purple states.

In the House, Democrats need to pick up 17 GOP-held seats needed to win back control of the Republican-led chamber, a feat political handicappers say is unlikely considering the shrinking number of competitive congressional districts. In the states, Democrats hope to go on offense in the gubernatorial contests, as the GOP's defending 22 of the 36 seats up for grabs this November.

Donna Brazile, the DNC's vice chair of voter registration and participation, said that the Winter Meeting provides "an opportunity to focus on this election cycle."

"We're going to look at opportunities for Democrats to regain some of the ground lost in 2010. This is a chance for us to showcase our talent, fine tune our message and prepare our troops for an intense battle this fall," added Brazile, a CNN contributor.

Tapping into Obama's electoral success

As part of that push, the DNC is also working to leverage the voter data and election tools refined during Barack Obama's historically tech-savvy presidential campaigns in this year's contests.

Earlier this week the party committee said it will make accessible to Democratic campaigns nationwide this year a voter file with constantly updated data from past elections in an effort to coordinate voter information as well as help those campaigns better strategize and manage volunteers. At a meeting with reporters Tuesday at their Capitol Hill headquarters, a DNC official added that they are bringing on an additional dozen digital staffers to bolster the party committee's efforts.

The DNC's counterpart, the Republican National Committee, has also invested heavily in technology, trying to close digital divide between the two parties - a key deficiency that hurt the GOP in 2012 - as well as emphasizing a restructuring of their ground game on the community level.

An email by the RNC to reporters Thursday morning argued that the DNC is not "investing in a long-term national ground game."

Eye on 2016

The DNC meeting comes a few weeks after the RNC gave near-unanimous approval to a package of rules changes that would condense the 2016 presidential nominating calendar and help the Republican party avoid the kind of protracted party infighting that hurt GOP nominee Mitt Romney's general election appeal in 2012.

The changes by the RNC come as the party drives towards moving their nominating convention from late summer to a June window, which would make the next Republican National Convention the earliest convention in either party since 1948. The RNC has announced its support for the June move but will formally vote on the change later.

The DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee on Thursday will begin discussions of the moves the RNC made, but party leaders say no decisions will be made at the Winter Meeting. The committee will meet again in April and early June, and plans to vote on its primary calendar suggestions by early autumn, before the DNC's next major gathering.

"We will want to take a close look at some of the things they've (the RNC) done in terms of enforcement, which are more strict than what we've done," said longtime Rules and Bylaws Committee Co-chairman James Roosevelt, who says he's a strong proponent of starting the primary calendar in February.

"We think we've come up with a process that's worked pretty well for the goal of getting a full airing of the potential candidates, both those who start as favorites and have significant funding, and those who gain momentum during the process and get better funding as they go along. We've found the past several cycles that our primary calendar's worked pretty well for us," Roosevelt added.

The RNC also moved towards stiffening the penalties against states that break the rules and move up their primary or caucus dates, which happened during 2008 and 2012 presidential cycles. Democrats appear to favor that move.

"It's imperative that the parties enforce the rules, that states comply with the requirements, that they stay within the windows of the calendar.After the decisions are made, we cannot change the rules to accommodate certain states," Brazile told CNN.

As for moving the date of the Democratic convention up to June, as the Republicans are seriously considering, Brazile and Roosevelt seemed skeptical.

"We need to keep people motivated and excited. I'm still of mixed opinion of moving it up too soon. Move it up before the Olympics and people may forget about it too soon."

"I'm open to arguments for moving up the date of the convention, butI haven't heard anybody on the Democratic side make such arguments," Roosevelt added.

CNN's Peter Hamby and Dana Davidsen contributed to this report


Filed under: 2014 • 2016 • Bill Clinton • Democratic National Committee • Democrats • DNC
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Gunderson

    Good God, I see Slick Willy is still trying to solidify his legacy. The Liberal's are still selling Snake Oil right and left. There are no voter restrictions. Anybody can go to a voter registration office and register.
    --------------------------------------–
    You're right. There are no voter restrictions, just voting restrictions. For example, when Pennsylvania passed its' Voter ID law the Republican controlled legislature had a report that indicated as many as 700,000 people would need to go to state DMV offices to obtain the required photo identification. In an average year, the state budgets funds for the production of 75,000 new ID cards per year. The new law meant they could need ten times that amount. In response to these facts, the Republicans proceeded to reduce DMV hours and cut the ID card budget in half.

    February 27, 2014 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Here's a thought. Instead of passing restrictive voting laws, how about enforcing the voter fraud laws already on the books?

    February 27, 2014 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  3. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    @Gunderson
    Good God, I see Slick Willy is still trying to solidify his legacy. The Liberal's are still selling Snake Oil right and left. There are no voter restrictions. Anybody can go to a voter registration office and register. The Liberals think you are too ignorant to take care of yourself so they will do it for you. For all of you that believe that, the line forms on the left.

    Old Gunderson, Why did you dispense with the phony dialect this morning? Too agitated to bother with it?

    February 27, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. Gunderson

    Chicken Little say The Sky is Falling!, the Sky is Falling! A long time ago old Gunderson learn much ignorance abound thru out the land. Too many posts here prove that still the case. Too many of you want a shortcut to success. But you have to crawl before you walk. Clue: After 100 years of big liberal policies we still just barely out of 1930's. You prove it everyday. Look at employment. Look at Welfare. Look at the National Debt. Next stop the 1930's. All over again.

    February 27, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  5. Silence DoGood

    This is a very important American issue. Most amendments to the Constitution deal with voting right and voting inclusion. Pollsters have long known that hardship of any sort, even the weather shifts voting to the conservative side. So even small things like slightly longer lines or a delay here or there makes a difference. We must fight it!

    February 27, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  6. bcrunner

    It is estimated in 2004 in Ohio close to 200,000 gave up and went home because they had to wait in many case for 7 – 8 hours to vote. Bush won by 120,000 votes. Afterwards Ohio added early voting, Sunday voting, extra voting machines to take care of the problem. Now they are taking all that away... The secretary of state in Ohio spent close to $200,000 to determine voter fraud. They came up with less than 20 cases... of those, most of them were thrown out.. so it appears there were 3 cases (?).. and one of those was a Mom who turned in an absetee ballot for her son/daughter who was away at college... It not just the voter i.d. that's the problem... It is EVERYTHING esle they are also doing to suppress voting...

    February 27, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. sonny chapman

    Good one Sniffit;almost TOO graphic !

    February 27, 2014 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  8. O'drama ya Mama

    No taxation without Representation. THATS IT! The Constitution that you Republicans love to interpret as its written does not say anything about having ID to vote!

    February 27, 2014 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  9. Enough is Enough

    "Today, there is no greater assault on our core values than the rampant efforts to restrict the right to vote,"

    Yes, how DARE a group of citizens demand that ONLY citizens vote in our elections and that each get only one vote! The nerve of those people!!

    February 27, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  10. wendel

    so many stupid people on site that think all you do is show an ID to vote. You need to take a second look at the new laws and maybe try and read them > Go get them Bill .Repos hate him but he is one of the most effective politicians around and he cares about people. The republican party has not had a new idea in the past ten years. They just keep rehashing old ones that help the rich and do nothing for the rest of us. get a grip the make up of the country is changing and eventually you will be in the minority . learn to adapt or you will continue to loose elections even with jerry rigging the voter process.

    February 27, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  11. Bill from GA

    Buncha Crybabies, Bill and the Dems.

    When I went to the polls in 2008, the line was longer that a football field.
    When I went in 2010, when Georgia last elected a Governor, it was 'Walk Right In.

    Was that voter suppression? Or was that lazy voters? My area is over 90% Black and probably over 98% Dem, but no laws kept the voters away, it was lack of interest. With better turnout, we would likely have a Dem Governor here. And the Gerry-Mandered Redistricting would probably have been done to benefit the Dems.

    I haven't been to the polls since 2010, since I started voting Absentee. And I don't show an ID.

    Dems should be working on solutions, rather than crying about what those nasty repubs (who were elected because of lazy dems) are doing to them.

    Fight fire with fire, Use the repubs methods, such as absentee voting. Or just keep being looser-crybabies.

    February 27, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  12. Thomas

    Ted Cruz / Gunderson
    Chicken Little say The Sky is Falling!, the Sky is Falling!

    February 27, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  13. Wake up People!

    Well Sniffitt call me a fool. I knew they would be upset but I never in a million years thought it would be this bad. This is why I know the U.S. will never have a 100% black POTUS. They don't even accept him and he's 1/2 white. Us chocolate people don't stand a chance.

    February 27, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    Are voting rights under assault from the right-wing? Absolutely. There was a time in America that my own grandmother was not allowed to vote because of her gender.

    Very disheartening that ANY American would be turned away from voting in America in this century.

    Yet, it happened in 2012. BIG TIME.

    February 27, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  15. Chris-E...al

    All they want want is to give Mexicans the right to v0te ! If they could they let Canada vote to ! Black an White Ppl know how to vote ! I think they still think we in the 60's ! Playing that race game evertime ! We n0t dumb dims! n0t

    February 27, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  16. Silence DoGood

    @Gunderson
    Chicken Little say The Sky is Falling!, the Sky is Falling! A long time ago old Gunderson learn much ignorance abound thru out the land. Too many posts here prove that still the case. Too many of you want a shortcut to success. But you have to crawl before you walk. Clue: After 100 years of big liberal policies we still just barely out of 1930's. You prove it everyday. Look at employment. Look at Welfare. Look at the National Debt. Next stop the 1930's. All over again.
    ----------
    My Constitution in My Country has a lot to say about voting rights in it's amendments. It is very important in America to preserve voting ease and rights.

    February 27, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  17. smith

    Both parties cry voter fraud, the simple solution is present an ID car when voting. Now Dems cry unfair. Sounds like Dems aren't so worried about voter fraud after all. Hint Hint

    February 27, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  18. Rusty Krus

    @Gunderson
    Chicken Little say The Sky is Falling!, the Sky is Falling! A long time ago old Gunderson learn much ignorance abound thru out the land. Too many posts here prove that still the case. Too many of you want a shortcut to success. But you have to crawl before you walk. Clue: After 100 years of big liberal policies we still just barely out of 1930's. You prove it everyday. Look at employment. Look at Welfare. Look at the National Debt. Next stop the 1930's. All over again.

    Jeff, it didn't take too long for this psycho to go back to his other persona.

    February 27, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  19. Norma Vessels

    Some keep trying to blame President Obama for everything that hasn't been done, or has been done that's wrong .. when they know that it's their own party of Republicans in Congress that has stopped any progress that would have happened if not for their stalling and stopping every good Bill that was handed to them. We've seen through that ruse, and we know exactly who's to blame.

    February 27, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  20. Donna

    America is under assault by lying Democrats and their attack on our election process. They are doing anything they can to make it more open to fraud and corruption in order to undermine the integrity of the process. They don't want to make it easy and honest, they want to make it easy to perpetrate fraud and steal elections.

    February 27, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  21. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    @Chris-E...al
    All they want want is to give Mexicans the right to v0te ! If they could they let Canada vote to ! Black an White Ppl know how to vote ! I think they still think we in the 60's ! Playing that race game evertime ! We n0t dumb dims! n0t

    Thank you for a very thoughtful and well constructed post!

    February 27, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    @smith
    Both parties cry voter fraud, the simple solution is present an ID car when voting. Now Dems cry unfair. Sounds like Dems aren't so worried about voter fraud after all. Hint Hint

    Actually, the only time I ever heard democrats complain of voter fraud was when Ohio pulled some very sneaky moves with Diebold machines. When it was investigated, Cuyahoga County Republicans destroyed evidence and stonewalled the process. Oh, and lets not forget the "hanging chad" debacle thanks to Florida.

    February 27, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  23. CryBabies

    Bill, I would'nt get too rapped up with so called "voter assault". In fact it would probably be a good idea not to bring up the word "assault" in any public speaking or media event. Hillary will have the real "war on women" mantra to deal with, when she campaigns, due to your various escapades when you were "active".

    February 27, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  24. Rusty Krus

    @Donna
    America is under assault by lying Democrats and their attack on our election process. They are doing anything they can to make it more open to fraud and corruption in order to undermine the integrity of the process. They don't want to make it easy and honest, they want to make it easy to perpetrate fraud and steal elections.

    Good afternoon Donna. Time for your meds. Now, now, that's a good girl. You will feel better soon.

    February 27, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  25. Chris-E...al

    NExt thing you know a big black S.U.V will drive up and three armd men will jump out an force you to the poll . 0r the IRs will tax us FOR N0T Voteing like they do with the N0T S0 a.c.a ! Some folks dont v0te .I WONDER WHY . with all the mess in the world this is whats on a dims mind ! they care so much but we cant tell ! w0w

    February 27, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
1 2 3