Brazile, DNC Launches Voter Expansion Project

James Wright | 2/27/2014, 4:47 p.m.
Donna Brazile (Courtesy of donnabrazile.com)

Donna Brazile, a District resident and the vice chairwoman of voter registration and participation for the Democratic National Committee, has started a new project to educate voters about their rights and to get people to cast their ballot.

Brazile, a well-known CNN contributor and the campaign manager for Al Gore's 2000 presidential bid, said Thursday that voting is now a partisan issue and that is not right.

"It wasn't always this way," she said. "In 1965, when President [Lyndon] Johnson realized that the previous year's Civil Rights Act was not enough, that the country needed a Voting Rights Act to protect the rights of citizens — particularly blacks and minorities — he called on the minority leader, Republican Sen. Everett Dirksen of Illinois, for help. Dirksen responded and the bill passed."

Brazile said that the new initiative, the Voter Expansion Project, is designed to ensure that every eligible citizen can register, every registered voter can vote, and every vote is counted. She said that some Republicans are making casting a ballot too difficult a process for many Americans.

"Today, too many Republicans are making it harder for working Americans, students, women, people of color and the elderly to participate in the process," said Brazile, a former chief of staff to D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. "In states like Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, Wisconsin and many others, we see Republican-controlled legislatures engaged in voter suppression efforts, such as curtailing early voting, requiring restrictive IDs, etc. That's not the American way."

Brazile said that the project has four goals: voter education, election administration, legislation and litigation. She said that the DNC will work with any groups that helps further the project's goals and said every American should support its aims.

"Lyndon Johnson, a Texas Democrat, and Everett Dirksen, an Illinois Republican, recognized that expanding the vote benefitted both parties and the country," she said. "They worked together for that. So should we."