Beto O'Rourke Announces "Voting Rights" Plan

Beto O'Rourke
Photo credit © Press Association

DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - Former Congressman and current Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke has laid out a plan he says would help the country "realize the full potential of our democracy."

O'Rourke's campaign says the "Voting Rights and Democracy Reform Plan" could increase registration by 50 million voters and turn 35 million additional voters to the polls by 2024.

O'Rourke's plan is built around three parts.

One would focus on increasing voter turnout. The plan would allow same-day voter registration. Twenty states and Washington DC allow same-day registration now.​ Sixteen and 17 year olds would be automatically pre-registered.

The second part would "remove barriers within our democracy." O'Rourke would ask Congress to make voting day a national holiday, extend early voting and expand vote-by mail. O'Rourke says he would also try to circumvent state voter ID laws, asking the Department of Justice to end "draconian" laws.

Instead, O'Rourke says people without identification could vote if they sign a sworn statement. He says voter ID laws have a "disproportionate impact" on racial minorities.

The third part of O'Rourke's plan is "rebuilding confidence in our democracy." His campaign says the plan would set up independent redistricting commissions to "tackle gerrymandering." The plan would also limit contributions to political action committees that focus on specific issues and stop political action committees from donating to campaigns.

O'Rourke also wants to establish term limits. Members of the House would be limited to 12 years in office; representatives could serve six 2-year terms, senators could serve two 6-year terms. Supreme Court justices would be limited to 18 years.

Polls released this week by CNN and Morning Consult both show O'Rourke sixth among Democrats running for the presidential nomination. He plans to highlight the plan during a campaign stop in Atlanta Wednesday evening.