Durbin urges Springfield to vote in election

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U.S Sen. Dick Durbin talks with local Democrats in front of the Old State Capitol in Springfield on Saturday, ahead of the consolidated general election on April 6.

With just over a week until Sangamon County’s consolidated general election, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin gathered with a group of local Democratic candidates and volunteers Saturday morning on the grounds of the Old State Capitol.  

Standing near the Lincoln Family statue at the corner of Sixth and Adams streets, the Democratic senator reflected on all the history that has taken place outside the Old State Capitol — where Barack Obama announced his candidacy for president in December 2007 and later introduced current U.S. President Joe Biden as his running mate — as he stressed the importance of voting and spoke out against Georgia’s new election law.

The Georgia voting restrictions, which were signed into law Thursday by Republicans, include new identification requirements to vote absentee by mail, and prevent people from providing food or water to voters waiting in lines. 

“They consider that to be voter fraud,” Durbin told the crowd. “I think it’s common sense. If people have to stand in line for hours, or long periods of time, you give them what they need to get through it.”

More:Illinois Senate passes bill expanding voting options

Comparing the new laws to the Jim Crow laws that were passed in Southern states following the Civil War — suppressing the votes of the poor and racial minority by mandating things like poll taxes and literacy tests, until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed the discriminatory voting practices — Durbin suggested that legislation may need to again be passed at a federal level to ensure everyone has an opportunity to vote.  

“We’re seeing changes in the law, which reduce the opportunities to vote,” Durbin said. “Why would we do that in a democracy? As far as I’m concerned, we want everybody legally eligible to show up and vote. The outcome then is more credible. So I’m disappointed. We may have to pass legislation at the federal level, to guarantee to people they have the right to vote. We’ve done it before. It’s not new."

On more than one occasion Saturday morning, Durbin, who is a longtime resident of Springfield, expressed how good it was to be home and among many of those who have supported him over the years. The Senate Majority Whip and chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee first ran for a seat in the Illinois Senate in 1976. 

“These are not the big headline presidential or senatorial races, but they count and they’re important,” said Durbin, of the April 6 consolidated general election. “The men and women who are running for office are going to make decisions that decide what communities look like."

Contact Natalie Pierre at npierre@gannett.com or on Twitter @NataliePierre_.

via The State Journal-Register https://www.sj-r.com

March 27, 2021 at 07:40PM

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