Warren announces plan to ‘step up our game on protecting our vote’ in FIU speech

Senator Elizabeth Warren highlights campaign focus at town hall

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren held a town hall on the Florida International University campus on June 25, 2019.
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Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren held a town hall on the Florida International University campus on June 25, 2019.

Tuesday evening in Miami, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren called for tighter election security and an end to practices that result in voter suppression. “We want to make democracy work. A big part of that is voting,” Warren said in a speech on the Florida International University campus. “It’s right at the heart.”

Hours before her appearance at FIU, Warren published an election policy that proposes same-day registration and early voting in all federal elections. The plan would “replace every voting machine in the country with state-of-the-art equipment” and help combat voter suppression by streamlining local administrative processes, which could prevent administrative errors such as lost ballots in Florida’s 2018 election.

Warren’s speech was among Miami political events in the lead-up to the first debate among Democratic presidential candidates, to take place Wednesday and Thursday.

From a square stage in the middle of the room, Warren told the story of her working-class family in Oklahoma, appealing to Americans of the same economic class and explaining how she had dreamed of a becoming a public school teacher since second grade. Warren focused on the financial struggle of working-class American families, which she described as a steep and rocky path — “and for people of color, even rockier and even steeper,” said Warren.

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren holds a town hall on the Florida International University campus on June 25, 2019. Jennifer King jking@miamiherald.com

Warren spoke of her childhood, when she said a minimum-wage job could support a family of three.

“Today a minimum wage job in America will not keep a momma and a baby out of poverty,” said Warren. “That is wrong, and that is why I am in this fight.”

Warren is gaining momentum among moderate Democrats and inching up in the polls after a series of successful appearances in the lead-up to Wednesday’s debate, when she’ll be among the participants. So far, she has announced a flurry of detailed policy proposals on everything from immigration and the environment to international trade and the U.S. States justice system.

Her bid for presidency attracted supporters like Megan Leffin, 45, who drove from Aventura with her two daughters to see Warren speak. “I want my girls to see a strong woman leader, and hopefully our next president,” said Leffin.

In an appeal for affordable tuition, Warren recalled her college tuition — just $50 per semester — and how she could afford to go to school on the wages of her part-time job as a waitress. She stated support for the Green New Deal, opposed military action in Iran and pointed to corruption in the American government.

“When you see a government that works great for giant corporations, works great for the rich, works greats for those with money and isn’t working for much of anyone else, that is corruption, pure and simple, and we need to call it for what it is,” Warren said.

“We’ve gotta overturn Citizens United,” continued Warren. “Democracy is not for sale.”

Warren proposed creating jobs through a new “green manufacturing” sector and improving domestic economics with a trade policy focused on generating wealth for working-class Americans.

Warren has also drafted a plan to end the opioid crisis and proposed canceling up to $50,000 of student debt for anyone who makes less than $100,000 per year.