Biden and Harris to focus on voting rights Thursday and expand DNC program

Harris will announce the expansion of the Democratic National Committee’s “I will vote” campaign with an event in the Washington, DC area, according to a committee official. Biden will meet privately with various civil rights groups to talk about their efforts to protect voting rights, according to a White House adviser.

Harris, who has been tasked by the White House with leading their efforts to advance voting rights, will focus his remarks on why the entire Democratic Party must fight voter suppression, the DNC official said. . She will also be named honorary president of the “I Will Vote” program of the DNC.

Biden’s meeting will include representatives from the NAACP, the National Coalition for Black Civic Participation, the National Urban League, the National Action Network, the NCNW, the Leadership Conference for Civil & Human Rights and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the adviser said, adding that the president is personally “outraged” by Republican attempts to toughen election laws in response to the 2020 election.

“We see this aggression from restrictive laws, threats of intimidation, voter purges and more,” Biden said at a White House event in June to celebrate June 17. “We cannot rest until the promise of equality is fulfilled for all of us in all corners of this nation. This is, to me, the meaning of Juneteenth.”

So far, Democrats have not been able to get voting rights changes through Congress. After the party’s signature voting and election bill passed the House earlier in the year, Republicans sunk the Senate version in a key procedural vote in June. All 50 Democrats, including West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, united to pass the bill, but all 50 Republicans voted against, meaning the bill did not get all 60 votes. necessary to pass to the legislative body.

Spurred, in part, by former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, Republican legislatures have passed restrictive voting laws in states ranging from Florida to Texas to Georgia and Iowa. Trump has applauded the efforts from afar and urged other states to follow suit.

“Electoral reform must take place in swing states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin and Arizona, where voters have lost confidence in their electoral process,” Trump said in a statement Tuesday.

According to Brennan Center for Justice, lawmakers in 17 states had enacted 28 restrictive ballot access laws as of June 21, a record since 2011, when 19 laws were enacted by 14 state legislatures. The events come on the same day that Texas must convene a special session of the state legislature to rekindle a slew of new voting restrictions effectively killed by Democrats in the regular legislative session.

In response to Republican efforts, a series of Democratic organizations have focused on protecting the right to vote, launching a series of programs to educate voters about the new laws, publicly attacking lawmakers pushing the laws, and fighting laws before the courts.

The Democratic National Committee’s campaign has been at the heart of the party’s response to these laws.

Committee chairman Jaime Harrison announced earlier this year that the committee would invest at least $ 20 million in its attempt to help Democrats retain control of the House in 2022, including by funding “dozens.” Of voter protection officers in states like Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina. , Nevada and Pennsylvania. At the time, Harrison called restrictive voting laws “fundamentally un-American.”

“This is not who we are as a people,” he said.

The DNC has not been alone in its efforts to protect voting rights. Priorities USA, a leading Democratic super PAC, has invested $ 50 million in voting rights work over the past four years and plans to continue the investment until 2022. And the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee in June announced plans to invest $ 10 million in voter protection efforts ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story inaccurate one of the attendees at Biden’s meeting on Thursday. The NAACP will participate.

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