Tim Kaine has been stepping up his rhetoric on the campaign trail in what is becoming a heated battle between Democrats and Republicans over voting rights. The Democratic vice presidential nominee has been dedicating more and more time in his stump speech to voter expansion, and attacking GOP governors in swing states that are home to voter ID laws and other restrictive practices.
On Thursday, Kaine will address the Progressive National Baptist Convention in New Orleans, where he will champion the need to protect voting rights. While speaking to the National Urban League in Baltimore earlier this month, the Virginia Senator similarly praised the courts for “striking down in a number of states arbitrary restrictions that are trying to hold people back from voting.”
In Wisconsin, where Republican governor Scott Walker has been accused of strategically disabling poor minority communities from their right to vote, Kaine said last week, “When I see people here trying to shove people aside so they can’t participate, they’re doing it for a reason. They’re doing it because your vote does matter. They’re doing it because if you vote, they’ll lose. We want to serve, they want to win.”
Congressional Black Caucus Chair G.K. Butterfield told Politico, “This has been a conversation in African-American communities, and I believe it’s going to energize the African-American vote. Tim Kaine is a Southerner. And he knows that there has been intentional discrimination for decades in the South to disenfranchise African-American voters. He knows it happened in Virginia.”
Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings echoed those sentiments, stating that Kaine “gets that things are not equal and that we still have a lot of work to do.” And North Carolina Rep. Alma Adams said that his voting rights advocacy will help the vice presidential hopeful “gain trust from so many people who really didn’t know him.”