Georgia 2020: Klobuchar sharpens her voting rights agenda in Atlanta

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar would require states to use paper ballots, issue grants to local governments to upgrade their voting infrastructure and ban foreign nationals from buying election ads, she said Monday at a voting rights event in Atlanta.

The Democratic White House hopeful said she would block states from purging voter rolls for not casting a ballot in recent elections, touching on a key issue in Georgia. The state plans to cancel more than 300,000 voter registrations this year, following the largest single removal of voters in U.S. history in 2017.

The Minnesota Democrat's plan includes a vow to pass legislation that requires states to remove exact-match standards that require voter registrations to line up precisely with the names on their photo IDs, as well as "other unnecessary and discriminatory obstacles" to registering to vote.

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Her proposal also would ban foreign nationals from any involvement in decisions regarding political expenditures from corporations or PACs seeking to influence elections. And she supports requiring online platforms to use human reviewers to approve political ads.

She said she would quickly issue an executive order launching new cybersecurity initiatives, create a Cabinet-level task force on protecting elections and require political campaigns to report any attempt by a foreign entity to influence elections to federal authorities.

Klobuchar outlined her agenda at a roundtable discussion in Atlanta at 1 p.m. that included voting rights experts from the ACLU, the state Democratic Party and other groups.

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She’s honing her proposal after a gubernatorial election framed partly over the fight over ballot access that pitted Stacey Abrams, a Democrat who made voting rights central to her election pitch, against Brian Kemp, a Republican who oversaw elections.

Disputes over the counting of absentee and provisional ballots, voter purges and problems plaguing polling sites triggered a spate of federal lawsuits, a push for a new voting system and outrage from critics who see voter suppression at works. In each case, state and local officials say their efforts are aimed at preventing voter fraud.

Klobuchar is one of a dozen White House hopefuls and other big-name Democrats crisscrossing Atlanta ahead of Wednesday's debate. She'll be one of 10 top contenders on the stage at Tyler Perry Studios for the showdown.

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