Capping a weekend campaign swing through South Carolina, more than 1,300 supporters turned out on a Saturday night at the University of South Carolina at Aiken to see Sen. Bernie Sanders. He was the first candidate to bring the 2016 presidential campaign to western South Carolina’s Savannah River region.
Echoing a theme from stops earlier in the day in Rock Hill and Columbia, the senator called out Republican state lawmakers who have thrown up legal roadblocks to make it harder to vote. He called them cowards.
In South Carolina, Gov. Nikki Haley signed legislation in 2011 that requires voters to show a photo ID in order to vote, a provision designed to discourage voter registration. Sanders said that he would look at every option, including a constitutional amendment, to guarantee the right to vote to all Americans over the age of 18.
“We have got to end this outrageous voter suppression which is taking place in dozens of states – efforts that are intentionally denying low-income people, people of color and seniors the ability to participate in the political process,” he said.
At the stop in Columbia, Sanders held a news conference where he elaborated on the voter suppression issue, picked up endorsements from state elected officials and community leaders, and was asked about a controversy over a book by Dr. Ben Carson, a Republican presidential candidate. More important than whether Carson’s autobiography was embellished, Sanders said, are his stands today on taking away Medicare or denying global warming.
Accompanied by his wife, Jane, Sanders began his day in Rock Hill with an appearance before a group of women Democrats who heard him make the case for how the economic issues that are the centerpiece of his campaign are important to women. He called for raising the minimum wage, improving access to child care for working mothers and ensuring that women and men are paid equal wages for equal work.