Biden Taps Harris for Lead Role In Protecting Voting Rights
TULSA, Okla. – President Joe Biden on Tuesday put Vice President Kamala Harris in charge of his administration’s efforts to protect voting rights.
Biden made the announcement during a speech in Tulsa, Okla., where he marked the 100th anniversary of a massacre in which a White mob killed hundreds of Black people and destroyed a thriving community known as Black Wall Street.
During remarks that lasted just over half an hour, the president spoke of how disturbed he’s been to see multiple states pass laws that many believe will make it more difficult for Blacks and other minorities to cast their ballot.
He called these efforts a “truly unprecidented assault on our democracy,” and said protecting the right to vote was the single most important priority in building a better country.
“To signify the importance of our efforts, today I’m asking Vice President Harris to help these efforts and lead them among her many other responsibilities,” Biden said. “With her leadership and your support, we’re going to overcome again, but it’s going to take a hell of a lot of work.”
Later, Harris released a lengthy statement in which she said she would engage the public, voting rights groups, community organizations and the private sector “to help strengthen and uplift efforts on voting rights nationwide.”
“Every American has a right to have their voice heard at the ballot box, and no American should be kept from voting early, voting by mail, or voting at all. Our democracy is strongest when everyone participates, and it is weaker when people are left out,” the vice president said.
She noted that in the last election, “more people voted than ever before. Since then, more than 380 bills have been introduced across the country that would make it harder for Americans to vote. These bills seek to restrict the options that make voting more convenient and accessible, including early voting and vote by mail.
“Our administration will not stand by when confronted with any effort that keeps Americans from voting,” Harris said.
“We must protect the fundamental right to vote for all Americans regardless of where they live. There are two important bills in Congress that would do just that. The For the People Act would provide all Americans with fair and accessible voting options, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would prevent discriminatory changes to voting laws and procedures,” she said.