Biden and Harris fight voter suppression today

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

President 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 told 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.

“We see this assault from restrictive laws, threats of intimidation, voter purges and more,” Biden said at a White House event in June to celebrate Juneteenth. “We can’t rest until the promise of equality is fulfilled for every one of us in every corner of this nation. That, to me, is the meaning of Juneteenth.”

Uphill battle: So far, Democrats have been unable to get any voting rights changes through Congress.

After the party’s signature voting and elections bill passed the House earlier in the year, Republicans sunk the Senate version during a key procedural vote in June. All 50 Democrats, including West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, were united in passing the bill, but all 50 Republicans voted against, meaning the bill failed to get the needed 60 votes to move on in the legislative body.