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Senate candidate Barnes proposes expanding voter rights

December 9, 2021 GMT
FILE - Wisconsin Lt. Governor, Mandela Barnes announces that he will be running for U.S. Senate at the Sherman Phoenix in this, July 20, 2021, file photo from Milwaukee. Barnes on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021 proposed expanding voter rights, eliminating partisan gerrymandering, making Election Day a national holiday and ending the filibuster.(Angela Peterson/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP, File)
FILE - Wisconsin Lt. Governor, Mandela Barnes announces that he will be running for U.S. Senate at the Sherman Phoenix in this, July 20, 2021, file photo from Milwaukee. Barnes on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021 proposed expanding voter rights, eliminating partisan gerrymandering, making Election Day a national holiday and ending the filibuster.(Angela Peterson/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP, File)
FILE - Wisconsin Lt. Governor, Mandela Barnes announces that he will be running for U.S. Senate at the Sherman Phoenix in this, July 20, 2021, file photo from Milwaukee. Barnes on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021 proposed expanding voter rights, eliminating partisan gerrymandering, making Election Day a national holiday and ending the filibuster.(Angela Peterson/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP, File)
FILE - Wisconsin Lt. Governor, Mandela Barnes announces that he will be running for U.S. Senate at the Sherman Phoenix in this, July 20, 2021, file photo from Milwaukee. Barnes on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021 proposed expanding voter rights, eliminating partisan gerrymandering, making Election Day a national holiday and ending the filibuster.(Angela Peterson/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP, File)
FILE - Wisconsin Lt. Governor, Mandela Barnes announces that he will be running for U.S. Senate at the Sherman Phoenix in this, July 20, 2021, file photo from Milwaukee. Barnes on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021 proposed expanding voter rights, eliminating partisan gerrymandering, making Election Day a national holiday and ending the filibuster.(Angela Peterson/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP, File)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mandela Barnes on Thursday proposed expanding voter rights, eliminating partisan gerrymandering, making Election Day a national holiday and ending the filibuster.

Barnes, who currently serves as Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor, is one of several Democrats running for the seat currently held by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. Barnes takes a swipe at Johnson in his announcement, noting his recent support for the GOP-controlled state Legislature to take over control of federal elections in Wisconsin.

Johnson has not yet said whether he will seek a third term in the Senate next year. Johnson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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“Make no mistake, our democracy is on the ballot in 2022, and we need a United States Senator who has a plan to make elected officials accountable to the voters, to stand up to the corrupting influence of dark money, and to ensure the rights of voters are protected across this country,” Barnes said in a statement.

Barnes said he would support eliminating the filibuster rule in the Senate, which has led to the proposed John Lewis Voting Rights Act being stalled. Barnes supports the measure, which would restore parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

He also called for more disclosure of political spending, establishing online, same-day and automatic voter registration and amending the U.S. Constitution to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling that allows corporations and unions to spend as much as they want on political races.

Other Democrats running for Senate include state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski; Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry; Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson; Millennial Action Project founder Steven Olikara; and Wausau physician Gillian Battino.

The winner of the Aug. 9 primary will advance to the general election.