Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland who is seeking a Democratic presidential nomination, has declared his support for a constitutional amendment protecting the right to vote.
"Last year, Republican state legislators in 29 states introduced more than 80 restrictive bills to require a photo ID, make voter registration harder, or reduce early voting," O’Malley wrote in an email to his supporters which was provided to CNN. "We know why they're doing this: because Americans without a photo ID are disproportionately low-income, disabled, minority — and Democratic.”
The announcement comes just days ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, The Hill reports.
O’Malley pointed to his track record of making it easier for his Maryland constituents to vote by giving felons the right to vote, expanding early voting, and allowing same-day voter registration. In contrast, states like North Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin and Florida have actually cut down early voting and made voter identification rules more strict, CNN reports.
"Passing a constitutional amendment that enshrines that right will give U.S. courts the clarity they need to strike down Republican efforts to suppress the vote,” O’Malley wrote. He advocated for legislation that was introduced to the House in January, which states, "Every citizen of the United States, who is of legal voting age, shall have the fundamental right to vote in any public election held in the jurisdiction in which the citizen resides,” CBS News reported.