Former POTUS Bill Clinton addressed the crowd at the annual Campus Progress conference this week and warned them that proposed changes to voting laws are similar to the Jim Crow rules and poll taxes used to disenfranchise Black voters in the past. Clinton said that the Republican-drafted laws in states including Florida and New Hampshire will limit voter turnout and prevent young people from voting.
“There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the voter Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit a franchise that we see today,” Clinton told the student advocates on Wednesday. “They [Republicans] are trying to make the 2012 electorate look more like the 2010 electorate than the 2008 electorate,” he stated. “Are you fighting? You should be fighting it.”
There was a significant decrease in the number of youth voters in 2010 from 2008, a year which found young people energized by the Obama campaign.
Clinton told the crowd that Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s efforts to overturn the law which allows felons to vote after completing their probation is racially motivated. “Why should we disenfranchise people forever once they’ve paid their price?” Clinton said. “Because most of them in Florida were African Americans and Hispanics and would tend to vote for Democrats, that’s why.”
He also spoke out against a New Hampshire measure that would bar students from registering to vote where they are attending school and force them to vote in their hometown elections either physically or via absentee ballot.