Democrats Plan Massive Voting Rights Effort for 2014 and Beyond

Its new Voter Expansion Project aims to counteract voter suppression efforts and ensure that evey eligible vote is counted.

Posted: 02/27/2014 08:30 AM EST

If the Democratic National Committee has its way, 2014 will not be your daddy's mid-term elections cycle. The DNC on Thursday afternoon will announce a new Voter Expansion Project that aims to not only defend voters against laws in Republican-led state legislatures across the nation that could disenfranchise them but will also ensure that every eligible voter and registered voter can cast their ballots on Election Day.

Former President Bill Clinton, who has already begun to take a starring role on the campaign trail for congressional lawmakers, will be the face of the massive new effort, a DNC source told BET.com.

Voting rights advocates have long maintained that the rollout of stricter new voting policies and laws represent a "cynical" strategy by the Republican Party to force a lower turnout among voters who are likely to support Democratic candidates.

"It's not enough anymore just to be against these new voting restrictions. We need to get back on the road forward and work for more and easier voting," said Clinton in a video announcing the program. "We need to improve voting experience, registering new voters, demystifying the process, expanding access to the ballot box and making the process simpler and shorter. We know it works because we've done it before."

As President Obama enters the final stages of his tenure at the White House, they want to not only maintain their majority in the Senate, but also are harboring the slim hope of regaining control of the House of Representatives for years to come. And it's not limited to Capitol Hill.

According to the party, the effort will "professionalize and institutionalize a permanent, in-house operation that will remain in place from cycle to cycle, and that can be used by Democratic candidates across the country up and down the ballot."

Steps include establishing procedures to register and educate voters on new laws before Election Day; ensuring that laws and regulations are transparent and fair; recruiting, training and deploying local attorneys to act as poll workers and observers; and tracking regulations, legislation and litigation that could impact voter access or elections.

"While every state will be supported in building a voter protection program, we will make greater investments in priority states where the need and the political environment will guide our investments and direction," the DNC said.

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(Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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