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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Vice President Joe Biden urged voters on Monday to stand up to Republican-led efforts to limit voting rights, in a video for the Democratic National Committee’s voter expansion project.

“If someone had said to me 10 years ago I had to make a pitch for protecting voting rights today, I would have said ‘you got to be kidding,'” Biden says in the video. “But last year, when the Supreme Court cut the heart out of the Voting Rights Act, it opened up the floodgates for voter suppression.”

In the video, the vice president contrasts the Voting Rights Act’s history of bipartisan backing — noting that even segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond and conservative icon Ronald Reagan supported it — with the current efforts to undo its protection.

“This year alone there are almost 50 restrictive voting rights bills under consideration nationwide,” Biden says. “At least 11 states have introduced legislation either requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls, or make existing photo ID laws more restrictive.”

He specifically highlighted laws in North Carolina, Texas, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The legislators who write and support such bills tend to justify them with unsubstantiated claims of a voter fraud epidemic (although they occasionally admit that they actually aim to disenfranchise Democrats).

“We have to stand up,” Biden urges. “It’s time to stand up and fight back.”

Vice President Biden is the latest in a string of high-profile Democrats to sound the alarm on voting rights. Former president Bill Clinton launched the DNC’s voter expansion project with a video of his own in February, and Attorney General Eric Holder announced in September that he would devote more Justice Department resources to enforcing existing voting rights protections.

The video is one of two notable political moves from the vice president on Monday; he also relaunched his Twitter account in anticipation of the midterm elections in November.

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