As the country marks 50 years since the Voting Rights Act was signed into law, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., expressed concern today that the voting rights of many are still “under threat.”
"Well, first, I just want to press the case because many people don't understand that ... the Voting Rights Act is under threat. And these voter ID laws which are being passed in many states have a disproportionate impact on poor folks," he said.
The senator recently introduced the Voting Rights Advancement Act aimed at preventing practices that interfere with citizens’ voting rights, such as requiring voter ID and changing voting locations.
The former mayor of Newark appeared on ABC News’ “This Week” four days after a Texas court struck down a voter ID law deemed discriminatory.
“You're more likely to get struck by lightning in Texas than to find any kind of voter fraud,” Booker told host George Stephanopoulos, explaining that the overturned law restricted the voting rights of 600,000 people who are disproportionally minority and poor.
Booker, 46, also pointed to the mass imprisonment of nonviolent felons as a threat to voting rights. In 2010, he said, 5.85 million citizens were denied their right to vote because of previous convictions, which he described as a population equivalent to the “20th biggest state in our nation.”
In reaction to “Black Lives Matter” protests at Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ rally in Seattle Saturday, Booker acknowledged what he described as “a legitimate degree of frustration in this country, in a nation that has yet to confront what I believe are persistent civil rights issues, human rights issues.”