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Booker calls for sweeping voting rights reforms

Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerNew sitcom follows 'The Rock' as he runs for president in 2032 What the shift in Senate control means for marijuana policy reform Democrats seek answers on impact of Russian cyberattack on Justice Department, Courts MORE (D-N.J.), a 2020 presidential contender, called for sweeping voting rights reforms Wednesday, including universal automatic registration and making Election Day a federal holiday.

Speaking in Atlanta, Booker proposed a “new Voting Rights Act” focusing on a three-part goal of protecting voting rights, expanding voting access and making it easier to vote. Booker’s proposal would establish automatic registration as well as the expansion of voting by mail, early voting and same-day voter registration.

"For years, the right to vote for millions of Americans — disproportionately in communities of color —has been under assault," Booker said. "It is time for a new Voting Rights Act to finally put an end to systematic attempts to limit access to the ballot box and strip citizens of their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote."

"During my presidency, we will fight to protect and expand every American's right to take part in our democracy," he added.

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It would also ensure the availability of ballots in different languages, restore voting rights to felons and make Election Day a national holiday.

Other provisions of the proposal include restoring the Voting Rights Act provisions shut down by the Supreme Court in the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision. It would also take steps to “prevent the kind of voting suppression and voter roll purging" reportedly seen in Georgia's 2016 gubernatorial race, according to Booker's campaign.

Booker is also calling for better safeguarding of elections from foreign interference.

Several of Booker’s fellow Democratic 2020 candidates have also proposed expanding voting rights. Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWhat the shift in Senate control means for marijuana policy reform Business groups prepare for lobbying push against minimum wage Schumer: Senate could pave way for reconciliation on COVID relief next week MORE (I-Vt.) has called for allowing felons to vote from prison, which is currently only allowed in Maine and Vermont. Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden argues for legislative patience, urgent action amid crisis Financial firms brace for Biden's consumer agency chief Tim Ryan says he's 'looking seriously' at running for Portman's Senate seat MORE (D-Mass.) would not commit to supporting the vote for incarcerated felons, but has endorsed enfranchising felons who have completed their sentences.