Perez: Dems need voter protection team

Perez: Dems need voter protection team
© Greg Nash
Labor Secretary Tom Perez is calling for the Democratic Party to dedicate full-time staff to combating voter suppression as part of his pitch to lead the party out of the ashes of 2016. 
Accusing the GOP of looking to prevent Americans from voting, the former Justice Department lawyer argued that his party needs to fight back. 
"With GOP attempts to disenfranchise voters, [without] full protections of the [Voting Rights Act], we need an aggressive [Democratic National Committee] effort that'll fight voter suppression. This means there needs to be a fully-funded team of legal experts fully integrated with states, organizing and digital teams," he tweeted Tuesday. 
"This team should protect and fight for voting rights in every state, every year—not just even years because there is too much at stake."
Perez cited his role in the Justice Department as the assistant attorney general for civil rights, during which he barred Texas from enacting voter ID laws in 2012 on the argument that it could discriminate against minority voters. 
"Building strong voter protection efforts are crucial to rebuilding our party. I didn't back down in TX or [South Carolina]. Won't back down now," he added. 
Those laws ultimately were enacted in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which invalidated key pieces of the Voting Rights Act, including the section that allowed Perez's Justice Department the right to shoot down proposed voting laws in certain states with a history of discrimination. 
A federal appeals court ruled against the state and its voter ID law months before the 2016 elections, and the state is appealing to the Supreme Court. 
Democrats have long criticized Republicans over voter ID laws and other measures they believe are meant to make it harder for minorities and young people, who typically vote Democrat, to vote. 
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFemale Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up McCabe's shocking claims prove the bloodless coup rolls on MORE's campaign lawyer, Marc Elias, joined with state parties in Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Arizona to ask judges to protect voters from alleged intimidation by President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump McCabe: Trump said 'I don't care, I believe Putin' when confronted with US intel on North Korea McCabe: Trump talked to me about his election victory during 'bizarre' job interview MORE's campaign and its supporters. Elias has also spearheaded a number of other lawsuits, most notably in North Carolina, against states for other laws like limiting early voting. 
But Republicans have long bucked the charges that the voting measures have any ulterior motive, pointing to the need to ensure ballot integrity and the taxpayer costs of long periods of early voting. 
Trump brought up those concerns about early voting this month during a stump speech for Sen.-elect John Kennedy (R-La.), who at the time was competing in a runoff election. 
"You have that long early voting in Florida, it's so long and so many things can go wrong when you have that long period of time. A long, long, long period. It used to be you have a day and you vote, now you go on forever, weeks and weeks," Trump said."
“We have to discuss that early thing, that’s sort of — so many things are going on, I wonder what happens in the evening when those things are locked."