Hickenlooper 2020


Hickenlooper Releases Plan to Protect Voting Rights

DENVER, CO - Today, former Colorado governor and Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper releases his plan to protect the right to vote. The plan includes support for expanding access to early voting, same day voter registration, universal mail ballot access, automatic voter registration, restoring voting rights to those with a criminal record, pre-registration for 16 year olds and ending partisan gerrymandering through creation of independent redistricting commissions. 

Most notably, Hickenlooper would strike back at the pernicious creep of restrictive voting practices in states like Georgia and Alabama, as well as the Supreme Court's disastrous decision in Shelby v. Holder, by calling for immediate passage of the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019 to ensure every American has a voice in the electoral process. 

The Governor would also follow in the footsteps of President Teddy Roosevelt by calling for voluntary public financing of campaigns with a small donor matching program to reduce the corrosive effects of big money in politics. (full plan here).

"The right to vote is one of the fundamental rights of our democracy that must be made available - unencumbered - to all Americans regardless of income, race, ethnicity, or national origin. We cannot allow age-old voter suppression tactics, revived by a Republican Party determined to hold onto power at all costs, to comprise our values or our rights," said Hickenlooper. "When I was Governor of Colorado, we rejected these tactics by expanding voters' rights through legislation to grant universal access to mail-ballots and the ability for anyone who is eligible to vote to register on the same day and cast a ballot. As a result, Colorado has consistently had some of the highest voter turnout in the country."

"As President, I will work with Congress to pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019 to allocate federal resources for combating restrictive voting practices, which disproportionately affect communities that have long been under-represented."

Hickenlooper first discussed his plan with CNN's Laura Coates. View the interview here.

Hickenlooper's 'Plan to Protect the Right to Vote' would: 
  1. Strengthen the Voting Rights Act and Combat Efforts to Suppress the Vote: Governor Hickenlooper believes we must restore and update the Voting Rights Act for the 21stCentury. That is why he supports the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019, which was introduced by Congresswoman Terri Sewell and Senator Patrick Leahy. This smart legislation is a modern update to the Voting Rights Act and will restore vital protections for our most fundamental democratic right – the right to vote. 
    Further, to protect registered voters from being purged from voting rolls for simply missing an election or other unwarranted reasons, Hickenlooper supports clear standards for keeping voter rolls up to date, and he would oppose measures designed to prematurely cull voters from the registered rolls.
  2. Mandate Early Voting: As President, Hickenlooper will advocate for a 15-day early voting period for all federal elections, to ensure every voter has the opportunity to exercise their sacred right. 
  3. Support Automatic Voter Registration (AVR):  Hickenlooper is passionate about bringing AVR, which he passed into law in Colorado, to all Americans. AVR saves voters time by automatically registering those who interact with a government office, such as a division of motor vehicles or passport renewal. These voters are mailed notifications that they have been registered to vote (or their registration has been updated) and then they are provided with the opportunity to “opt-out” if they so choose. Simplifying voter registration would improve access and elections would function more smoothly because registrations would be more up to date.
  4. Support Same Day Voter Registration (SDR): In conjunction with allowing same day voter registration, Hickenlooper would support SDR as a necessary complement to AVR, helping to ensure that every eligible voter becomes a registered voter. It is a common-sense safeguard against registration problems, it is highly popular with voters and has been shown to boost voter turnout by 5 to 7 percent. We need a federal standard that will allow for same-day voter registration so that people can register to vote and cast their ballot at the same time, regardless of whether they remember to update their registration by some arbitrary date.
  5. Support Pre-Registration of 16 Year Olds: Governor Hickenlooper has long believed in the value and importance of engaging young people to be active members of our democracy and supports providing the opportunity for 16 year olds to pre-register to vote. Once they turn 18, they are automatically registered to vote. As an additional way to boost voter registration, Hickenlooper supports federal legislation to ensure states cannot turn away 16- and 17-year-olds who want to pre-register for federal elections. 
  6. Incentivize Switch to Universal Mail Voting (Vote-at-Home): As president, Hickenlooper would start a grant program to help states cover the initial cost of switching to a universal mail-in ballot system with an adequate number of voting centers offering drop-off locations and in-person voting. This will help states switch to a more financially viable and more accessible process that has been demonstrated to improve participation in Colorado and other states. 
  7. Restore Voting Rights: Governor Hickenlooper supports automatically restoring voting rights to those who have previously served criminal sentences. A fair and simple rule under which everyone who is out of prison and living in the community gets to vote would both make it easier to administer elections and promote more successful reentry of formerly incarcerated citizens into our communities. 
  8. Support Small Donor Public Financing: Governor Hickenlooper supports a small donor matching system, as provided in the "For the People Act of 2019" that would be a “cornerstone” of campaign finance reform. Under this system, congressional candidates would voluntarily opt in by agreeing to accept lower contribution limits. When they reach a minimum number of small-dollar donations, they will have their contributions matched with public funding at a ratio of six-to-one. The estimated cost of a small donor matching system – less than $1 per citizen per year - would be modest particularly relative to the benefits of a more inclusive democracy.
  9. Establish Independent Commissions to Combat Gerrymandering: Hickenlooper supports states using independent redistricting commissions to create maps that serve the voters, not incumbent politicians. He agrees that we need to reclaim voters’ trust in our voting systems and processes. Fair and representative maps are a vital piece to restoring that faith. Independent redistricting commissions and fair maps are especially needed in response to the Supreme Court’s recent (and misguided) decision in Rucho v. Common Cause, allowing extremely partisan gerrymanders. Governor Hickenloopersupports banning partisan gerrymandering, creating uniform standards for map-drawing, and ensuring that the redistricting process is transparent and open to public participation. 

The Governor will release his plan to secure elections in the coming week.