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Beto O’Rourke unveils plan aimed at registering more voters, curbing influence of money in politics

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke unveiled a plan on Wednesday aimed at increasing voter registration and turnout through initiatives like bolstering same-day voting registration, undermining voter ID laws, strengthening vote-by-mail and early voting efforts, and establishing a national voting holiday.

The 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful is aiming to increase voter registration by 50 million new voters, have 35 million new voters cast ballots in 2024, and increase voter turnout to an almost-unheard of 65 percent.

“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,” Mr. O’Rourke said.

He called for allowing more people to register to vote on election day, and for registering people to vote whenever they do business with a government office.

Mr. O’Rourke also wants to amend the Voting Rights Act to clarify that election regulations shouldn’t disproportionately affect minority populations, and to pass legislation that would allow people without identification to vote with a “sworn written statement” of their identity.

He also wants to reduce state “voter purges,” establish a National Voting Day holiday, provide federal support to allow for voting by mail, and extend early voting periods to two weeks before election day, including weekends.

In a nod to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the plan also calls for states to receive federal funding to bolster election security.

Mr. O’Rourke also wants to empower independent commissions to redraw district lines, eliminate a citizenship question the Trump administration wants to add to the U.S. Census, and curb the influence of political action committees with new disclosure rules and contribution limits.

He also wants to put new restrictions on federal lobbying by people who held elected office, and forbid members of Congress from taking donations from companies in sectors that fall under the jurisdiction of the members’ committees.

Mr. O’Rourke also called for term limits of 12 years for congressmen and senators, and 18 years for U.S. Supreme Court justices. 

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