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Yang unveils plan to expand voter access

Yang unveils plan to expand voter access
© Greg Nash

White House hopeful Andrew YangAndrew YangMedia and Hollywood should stop their marching-to-Georgia talk Andrew Yang: Democrats need to adopt message that government is 'working for them' Andrew Yang moving to Georgia to help Democrats in Senate runoffs MORE released a sweeping plan Tuesday that he says would expand access to the ballot box. 

Yang’s multi-pronged approach would combat voter suppression, expand the electorate and enforce election security, among other things.

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“We need to get control of our democracy back in the hands of the people. Election reforms will help. There’s more we can do to rebuild and ensure trust in our federal government,” the entrepreneur said in a statement.

Yang says as president he would require states to receive permission from the Department of Justice before changing certain voting laws, limit purges of state voter rolls, institute automatic and same-day voter registration and prohibit voter ID laws.

To expand the electorate and increase turnout, Yang would require polling stations to be located within 20 miles of indigenous reservations, provide funds to states to ensure that all polling locations and voting methods are accessible to people with disabilities. He would also restore voting rights to felons, lower the voting age to 16 and make election day a holiday. 

Finally, to bolster existing cybersecurity measures Yang says he would boost federal funding toward ballot box security so voting machines cannot be hacked and invest in cybersecurity research to develop new methods to protect future elections. 

Election security and access have emerged as animating issues among the Democratic base since Russia waged a social media and hacking campaign to boost in the 2016 race to benefit President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Trump's remaking of the judicial system Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit MORE. While no votes were changed, Moscow was successful in disseminating an avalanche of disinformation online partly through the use of social media bots. 

Expanding access to the ballot box has also become a top issue for Democrats since the 2018 gubernatorial race in Georgia, which Democrat Stacey Abrams said she lost in part due to voter suppression by then-Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who controlled the voter rolls and ultimately won the election.