Beto O’Rourke Unveils Plan to Boost Voter Turnout

Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke waves while being introduced during the 2019 California Democratic Party State Organizing Convention in San Francisco on June 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

(CN) – Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke released a comprehensive new voting rights plan Wednesday that aims to increase voter turnout, secure U.S. elections from foreign interference and crack down on voter suppression laws, saying the country can’t solve challenges “with half-measures or only half our people – it’s going to take all of us.”

O’Rourke’s latest policy proposal, the fourth of his presidential campaign, also calls for term limits on members of Congress and U.S. Supreme Court justices, automatic same-day voter registration, and a push to make Election Day a national holiday. The goal of O’Rourke’s three-part plan is to register 50 million more people and have 35 million new voters cast ballots in 2024.

“The only way to make progress is if every single American is empowered to vote – and those who have historically been drawn out of our democracy are able to make their voices heard so that this country can live up to its full promise and potential,” O’Rourke said in a statement announcing the series of proposed electoral reforms.

The former El Paso congressman, who is credited with driving voter participation in Texas during his unsuccessful bid to unseat U.S. Senator Ted Cruz last fall, has long made reforming the election system a central issue, both while in Congress and on the campaign trail.

A co-chair of the Term Limits Caucus while in Congress, O’Rourke’s plan supports a constitutional amendment limiting the years of service for members of Congress and the Senate to a total of 12 years. Supreme Court justices would be limited to 18-year terms under the plan.

“All too often politicians focus on their own re-election at the expense of addressing the challenges our country faces,” the proposal states. “If we want to truly have faith in those we serve, if we want our government to reflect the diversity and strength and creativity of our communities, and if we want to inspire a new generation of voters, then let’s help clear the way for new leaders to step up and bring their unique experiences, expertise, and energy to bear on the problems and opportunities we’re facing.”

O’Rourke’s approach to voting rights is the latest set of policy reforms the Texas Democrat has released as he tries to set himself apart from the crowded field of almost two dozen candidates vying for their party’s presidential nomination. He has also unveiled broad plans to address climate change, immigration and reproductive rights.

O’Rourke’s campaign said he will highlight his voting rights plan Wednesday night during a NowThis town hall in Atlanta that will be held in partnership with the New Georgia Project Action Fund.

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