Doug Jones: ‘I stand by my comments’ on GOP not wanting African-Americans, minorities to vote
On Sunday’s broadcast of CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) addressed the “backsliding” remarks in his recently released book “Bending Toward Justice” regarding the vote from African-Americans and other minorities in elections.
During an appearance on Huntsville’s WVNN to promote his effort to encourage states like Alabama to expand Medicaid rolls through legislation in Congress, Jones said he stood by those remarks, noting it was a national trend to which he was referring.
“I hate to say it, but I stand by my comments because if you look around what’s happened around the country, it’s been Republican legislators and Republican governors who have passed these very, very stringent voter ID laws, some of which have been struck down by the courts,” Jones said on Tuesday’s broadcast of “The Jeff Poor Show.” “They have gerrymandered a number of districts to concentrate white voting power among a few districts. Voting rolls are being purged across the country.”
The junior Alabama senator said he did not think these efforts were based on “racial animus,” but argued they did not necessarily encourage maximum participation in elections.
“This is not based on the fact there is any racial animus, but I do think that it’s based on a political racial disparity around the country,” he said. “You know, voting rights should not be a political issue, and it is a political issue. It shouldn’t be. We should be doing everything that we can in this country to give everyone who is eligible to vote free access to vote. The ability to get to the polls – that means having polling places within a reasonable distance from where they live, having polling places open for more than just 12 hours in one single day during the course of an election.”
“We need to be upping the ante,” Jones continued. “We need to be getting a number of people who vote in our elections much higher than it has been in the history of America. We have some of the lowest voting rates across the civilized world. We need to up that ante. And so, I think if we look carefully about where things are, voting ought to be a nonpartisan issue. Districts should be drawn by nonpartisan commissions and not controlled by legislatures.”
Jones did note that Democrats also use gerrymandering for their political gain as well.
“And by the way, I have said for years Democrats have been just as guilty of gerrymandering of voting districts as Republicans have,” he added. “This should be a nonpartisan issue.”