|By Dan Merica
July 7, 2021
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will hold separate events Thursday to focus attention on Democratic efforts to combat voter suppression and protect voting rights nationwide, Democratic officials tell CNN.
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 a range of civil rights groups to talk about their efforts to protect voting rights, according to a White House adviser.
The separate events come in the midst of Republican efforts to pass restrictive voting rights laws across the country.
Harris, who has been tasked by the White House to lead their effort to push voting rights, will focus her remarks on why the entire Democratic Party must fight voter suppression, the DNC official said. She will also be made the honorary chairwoman of the DNC’s “I Will Vote” program.
The Biden meeting will include representatives from the NAACP, National Coalition for Black Civic Participation, National Urban League, National Action Network, NCNW, Leadership Conference for Civil & Human Rights and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the adviser said, adding that the President is personally “revolted” by the Republican attempts to tighten election laws in response to the 2020 election.
According to the 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 comes on the same day that Texas is scheduled to convene a special session of the state legislature to revive a slew of new voting restrictions effectively killed by Democrats during the regular legislative session.
In response to the Republican efforts, a range of Democratic organizations have ramped up their focus on protecting the right to vote, launching a range of programs to educate voters on new laws, publicly attack the lawmakers pushing the laws and combating the laws in court.
The Democratic National Committee campaign has been central to the party’s response to these laws.
Committee Chair Jaime Harrison announced earlier in the year that the committee would invest at least $20 million in their bid to help Democrats keep control of the House in 2022, including funding “dozens” of voter protection staffers in states like Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada and Pennsylvania. At the time, Harrison called restrictive voting rights laws “fundamentally un-American.”
“It is not who we are as a people,” he said.