Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips Five House members meet with Taiwanese president despite Chinese objections Sunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variant emerges; supply chain issues and inflation persist MORE vowed to prioritize protecting voting rights across America if elected in 2020, in an op-ed published Sunday in The State.
“Throughout my career I have worked to strengthen protections for voting access, to make sure there was a paper trail for electronic voting and to ensure poll workers are properly trained," Biden wrote in the South Carolina newspaper. “And if I am elected president, I will make voter protection a foundation of my administration.”
“We must resolve that 2020 will be the year that South Carolinians and Americans across the country stand up to continue the fight for equal rights and equal access to opportunity,” he added. “I know we can do it, because I’ve seen what this nation can accomplish when we stand together and stand for our highest ideals.”
The former vice president touted his early years in the Senate working on “extending and strengthening” the Voting Rights Act.
He also touted his decision to leave a big law firm and become a public defender, noting the impact the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy and the burning and occupation of his hometown of Wilmington, Del., by the National Guard had on his early career.
“And for a half-century in public office I have proudly fought for voting rights, civil rights, equal justice and equal opportunity,” Biden wrote.
Biden said he thought “we had finally turned this corner” when the Voting Rights Act was extended in 2006.
But then, he noted, a Supreme Court decision in 2013 invalidated what activists say is the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The decision allowed nine states to change their election laws without federal approval.
“Currently 35 states have some form of ‘voter ID’ requirement. These laws aren’t about fraud. They’re about making it harder for people of color to vote, and it’s just as un-American today as it was during Jim Crow,” Biden wrote.
South Carolina is one of those states, requiring voters to bring a photo ID to polls.
Biden said he would “lead the fight to restore the Voting Rights Act” and pass laws to make it easier for Americans to vote.
“Today we must renew our commitment to fighting violence and white supremacy, which has found renewed energy under the Trump administration’s policies of hate and division,” Biden wrote. “But we must also redouble our efforts to root out the insidious systemic racism and discrimination built into our laws, our institutions and our hearts — starting with protecting the sacred right to vote.”