President Obama made an aggressive push for new voting rights in his speech, announcing the creation of a nonpartisan commission to “improve the voting experience in America.”
“When any Americans – no matter where they live or what their party – are denied that right simply because they can’t wait for five, six, seven hours just to cast their ballot, we are betraying our ideals,” Mr. Obama said. “We can fix this, and we will. The American people demand it. And so does our democracy.”
Mr. Obama said he was asking two “long-time experts in the field,” a Democratic lawyer for his reelection campaign, Bob Bauer, and a Republican attorney, Ben Ginsberg, who served on the campaign of vanquished GOP rival Mitt Romney, to lead the panel.
The commission will focus specifically on Election Day issues and not broader voting reform, according to administration officials.
Among the first lady’s guests at the speech was 102-year-old Miami resident Desiline Victor, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Haiti who stood in line for three hours at a polling place on the first Sunday of early voting in Florida until workers told her to come back later that evening.