Tom Perez Announces Plan to Drastically Expand Voter Protections at the DNC

With a Potential Dormant Civil Rights Division Under Jeff Sessions, Perez Proposes Comprehensive Effort to Expand Ballot Access, Increase Voter Registration, Fight Republican Voter Suppression Tactics

Perez's Plan Invests In State Parties To Go On Offense On Voting Rights

Today, Tom Perez, candidate for chair of the Democratic National Committee, released his plan to establish a fully functioning office of voter empowerment to proactively expand ballot access, protect the right to vote, and combat Republican voter suppression efforts across the country.

Protecting the right to vote is something that Tom’s fought for throughout his career at DOJ, and with a potential dormant Civil Rights Division under Jeff Sessions, Tom believes that the DNC must take an aggressive role in protecting this fundamental right because we must be making it easier to vote – not harder.

“Republicans across the country are already trying to disenfranchise voters and put laws in place that restrict the right to vote,” said Perez. "Now with Donald Trump in the White House and Jeff Sessions by his side, Americans cannot rely on the Justice Department to fight back on behalf of disenfranchised voters. It’s time that the Democratic Party fights back.

“That is why I’m proposing that the DNC dramatically expand its voter protection efforts and scale a voter empowerment office that is fully funded and fully staffed with legal experts operating year round and integrated with the party’s regional, organizing, and digital staff. This investment is critical to ensure that everyone who is eligible to vote can do so without obstacles.”

This effort cannot and will not just take place in Washington. The party must support states by creating and supporting regional voter protection infrastructure with dedicated staff assigned to working with specific state parties to proactively monitor and fight voting issues – from unjust voter ID laws, to gerrymandering, to limiting voting locations.

The DNC’s voter empowerment office would not only have a coordinated strategy on voter suppression efforts, but would have a proactive strategy to provide access to the ballot box and the ballot itself, including:

  • Robust efforts to register voters in every state, something we saw that was successful last cycle in Nevada;
  • Ensuring enforcement of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE Act) and the Uniformed Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), so that our military and citizens voting overseas receive their absentee ballots and have their votes counted; and
  • Providing ballot access guidance to Democrats running for office to help field candidates for offices from school board to the Senate.

In addition, Tom will create a permanent Voter Caucus at the DNC with Secretaries of State, state party leadership, DNC voting members, and others, focused on voting issues from registration to representation because it is critical that we engage our local partners in this effort.

Under Tom’s plan, Democrats will finally benefit from a year-round investment in infrastructure focused on protecting the right to vote, expanding ballot access, increasing voter registration, and combatting Republican voter suppression, an investment that will be ingrained in the DNA of the DNC.

Tom has a proven track record of taking on Republican efforts to suppress the vote and believes that establishing the DNC’s voter empowerment office will be crucial to rebuilding the Democratic Party and ensuring the integrity of our democracy.