Although Texas is projected to vote for the Republican presidential candidate in 2016, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton visited the Lone Star State to address U.S. voting rights and the "Republican efforts to restrict them."

Clinton said some have proposed and passed laws to make it harder than ever to vote since the U.S. Supreme Court voted in 2013 against a provision of the Voting Rights Act. She acknowledged North Carolina lawmakers passing legislation against early voting, same-day registration and the ability for county election officials to extend voting hours.

"We should be doing everything we can to get our young people more engaged in democracy, not less," Clinton said.

"In fact, I would say it is a cruel irony -- but no coincidence -- that millennials, the most diverse, tolerant, and inclusive generation in American history, are now facing so much exclusion, and we need look no further than right here in Texas. ... You can use a concealed weapon permit as a valid form of identification -- but a valid student ID isn't good enough?"

According to Clinton, "hundreds of thousands" of Texan registered voters will encounter difficulties when casting their vote. Clinton criticized former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who announced his presidential bid hours before Clinton's speech, for supporting the elimination of the Voting Rights Act provision.

"[A]ll of these problems with voting did not just happen by accident. And it is just wrong, it's wrong to try to prevent, undermine, inhibit Americans' rights to vote," added Clinton. "Its counter to the values we share. And at a time when so many Americans have lost trust in our political system, it's the opposite of what we should be doing in our country."

Clinton also mentioned other confirmed and potential Republican presidential candidates. She highlighted Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker cutting back early voting and signed legislation that would make it harder for college students to vote. In New Jersey, Gov. Christie vetoed legislation to extend early voting. In Florida, during Jeb Bush's tenure as governor, state authorities "conducted a deeply flawed purge of voters before the presidential election in 2000. Thankfully in 2004 a plan to purge even more voters was headed off."

The former secretary of state said Republicans are "systematically and deliberately" trying to stop millions of Americans from voting.

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"I call on Republicans at all levels of government with all manner of ambition to stop fear mongering about a phantom epidemic of election fraud and start explaining why they're so scared of letting citizens have their say," said Clinton.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) said Clinton's comments were "misleading and divisive.

"In reality, the vast majority of Americans -- including minority voters -- support commonsense measures to prevent voter fraud," said Orlando Watson, RNC communications director for black media. "Clinton's shameless attacks ignore the fact her Democrat-led home state of New York does not allow early voting while dozens of Republican-led states do. Her exploitation of this issue only underscores why voters find her dishonest and untrustworthy."

As Watson referenced, only 33 states and Washington, D.C. allow some form of early voting, and New York is not one of them.

Clinton called for Congress to pass legislation similar to the eliminated provision of the Voting Rights Act. She also called for at least 20 days of early in-person voting across the U.S. including evening and weekend voting.

"Protecting the right to vote should not be a partisan issue and we know members of both parties support expanding the electorate and increasing participation, especially with young people who represent our country's future," said Rock the Vote President Ashley Spillane in a statement. "We need commonsense, reasonable laws in place that allow our generation to participate and have our voices heard at the ballot box."

She added, "Whether it's renewing the Voting Rights Act, expanding early voting, or implementing online voter registration tools, there are many steps we can take to protect this fundamental right. As a country we should strive to achieve this goal. We look forward to candidates running for office -- from the White House to state legislatures -- stepping forward as defenders of this right."

As Latin Post reported, the size of the Latino electorate will have increased compared to the 2012 presidential election cycle. According to Voto Latino President and CEO Maria Teresa Kumar, during an interview for Latin Post's "Turnout" series, there will be 2.4 million new Latino voters that have turned 18-years old by 2016. A Latino turn 18 years old every 30 seconds.


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