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Obama accuses GOP of ‘systematically’ preventing voting for Americans

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Former US president Barack Obama speaks during a campaign speech in Richmond, Virginia, for Terry McAuliffe, on Saturday. (Photo via UPI)

Former US president Barack Obama has accused Republicans of attempting to rig elections and to prevent Americans from voting.

Speaking during a campaign speech in Richmond, Virginia, for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday, Obama condemned GOP conspiracy theories about the 2020 election that dominate mid-term campaigns.

“You have to ask yourself: Why is it that Republicans don’t want you to vote?” he said. “What is it they’re so afraid of? I would assume, if they think they’ve got better ideas, why don’t they make the case? Tell us your ideas. Tell us why you think they’ll be better.”

“Explain it. If you’ve got good ideas people will flock to your ideas. But that’s not what they do. Instead they try to rig elections.”

The former president went on to say that unlike Republicans, Democrats are trying to make it easier to vote.

“​​All across the country, Democrats are trying to make it easier to vote, not make it harder to vote, and push back on Republicans who are trying to systematically prevent ordinary citizens from making their voices heard.”

His remarks come as this week Senate Republicans blocked, for a third time, a sweeping federal voting rights package aimed at creating national standards for early voting and voter registration and banning partisan gerrymandering.

Obama said that Republican lawmakers, instead of supporting debate around the legislation or promoting their own ideas to protect voting rights, “start to fabricate lies and conspiracy theories about the last election, the one [they] didn’t win.”

After Donald Trump tried in vain to overturn the results of the 2020 election on baseless claims of voter fraud, Republicans have waged a nationwide campaign around “election integrity.”

A least 19 states have enacted 33 GOP-backed restrictive voting laws this year, shows an analysis from the Brennan Center for Justice.

Meanwhile, the campaign of Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate for Virginia governor, responded to the former president’s accusations on Sunday.

“Glenn has addressed this multiple times before Obama came to Virginia to bail Terry out, but instead of writing a story about the former ​p​resident’s false statements, the press is indulging Terry’s fantasies and lies because he can’t run on his failed record and radical vision for the future,” Youngkin spokesperson Christian Martinez told Fox News.

Obama also accused Youngkin of “encouraging the lies and conspiracy theories we’ve had to live through all this time, and yet we’re supposed to believe he’s gonna stand up for our democracy?”

The former president also spoke at another rally in New Jersey on Saturday to support the governor Phil Murphy’s reelection campaign, slamming GOP opponent Jack Ciattarelli for appearing at the Stop the Steal rally that preceded the riots at the US Capitol.

“When you’re standing in front of a sign that says ‘Stop the Steal’ and there’s a guy in the crowd waving a confederate flag, you know this isn’t a neighborhood barbecue,” Obama said. “That’s not what New Jersey needs.”

Hundreds of former president Donald President supporters stormed the Capitol building on 6 January to stop Congress from certifying Democratic President Joe Biden's election win.

Four people died on the day of the violence. More than 100 police officers were injured.

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