Georgia 2020: Bloomberg unveils voting rights policy in Atlanta

Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg on Friday became the latest White House hopeful to use Georgia as a staging ground to unveil a voting rights policy that he said would promote fair elections.

Bloomberg rolled out his proposal after he addressed a voting rights summit organized by Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight Action group. Bloomberg was invited after giving the Atlanta-based organization $5 million – it’s largest donation.

His plan centers on a national Voting Rights Act that requires states to conduct automatic voter registration. It would block states from purging voters on the basis of inactivity, restore voting rights to people with felony convictions and add more federal observers at polling sites.

Another part of the proposal would require states to establish independent redistricting commissions to draw political maps. And it would mandate that all states allow early voting and adopt new standards for convenient polling place locations.

Bloomberg also said he would back a “regular, reliable federal funding stream” to upgrade and maintain voting infrastructure, which includes the use of standardized election machines that require paper ballots.

“The right to vote is the fundamental right that protects all of the others, but in states around the country, it is under attack,” said Mike Bloomberg. “That's a disgrace to our Constitution and an insult to generations of people who fought and marched to win the right to vote.”

Bloomberg is among a string of White House hopefuls to outline his ballot access policy in Georgia, which in 2018 was the home to a clash over voting rights between Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp, who as secretary of state oversaw elections.

Shortly after her narrow defeat, Abrams launched the Fair Fight group to promote ballot access and challenge electoral policy in court.

The group filed a far-reaching lawsuit that seeks to overturn state laws that resulted in purged registrationscanceled ballots and other obstacles to voting.