DNC staffs up for voter expansion project

The Democratic National Committee is staffing up in Ohio and Texas as part of its “Voter Expansion Project” aimed at pushing back on laws the party sees as restricting voting access. 

On Wednesday, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) announced four new hires, including state directors for the project in Texas and Ohio. 

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“With our state party partners, we have a national infrastructure and team of experts that no other organization can bring to bear," she said in a statement.  "Voting laws are rapidly changing, and our Voter Expansion Project will make sure that Democrats – and all voters – across the country are able to exercise their right to vote and make their voices heard.”

Lindsay Langholz was named director of the voter expansion project in the swing state of Ohio, which has become a central focus in recent presidential elections. President Obama captured the state's 18 electoral votes in the last two presidential elections, but it has moved between the two parties in recent history.

Sondra Haltom was named the director of the project in Texas. She is a former director of the Democratic state party who founded a non-profit for voting rights in the state. Democrats want to put an increased focus on the red state as they hope to make it competitive in future elections with the rising share of the Hispanic electorate. 

Bobby Hoffman, who worked on both presidential campaigns for Obama, was named deputy director of voter expansion. Zara Haq, who also worked on the Obama campaign, will become the director of knowledge management.

Democrats rolled out the expansion project in February with a video featuring former President Bill Clinton, who said there is "no greater assault on our values than the rampant efforts to restrict the right to vote."

The DNC effort looks to register more people, simplify the process and make sure all voters are counted. 

Vice President Biden was featured in a video this week showing exasperation at having to make a pitch for voting rights today.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Texas has some of the strictest voter-identification laws in the country, which require people without identification to fill out a provisional ballot and present identification less than a week later in order to get a vote counted. Attorney General Eric Holder filed a lawsuit against the state last year challenging the new voter laws. 

A similar voter identification law is set up in Ohio.

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