Biden meets U.S. civil rights groups to fight voting restrictions
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will huddle with civil rights groups on Thursday as Democrats seek a strategy to get voters to the polls despite restrictive rules passed by Republican-led legislatures in some U.S. states.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, are hosting leaders from organizations including the NAACP to “discuss the fight to protect the constitutional right to vote,” the White House said in a statement.
Biden’s fellow Democrats have struggled along with civil rights groups to fight a spate of voting restrictions including measures like Georgia’s ban on providing food or water to voters in long lines and a Florida measure giving more power to partisan election observers. The measures can hamper efforts to vote by Black, Latino and younger voters who have helped elect Democrats.
“Democracy is under attack in states across the nation, and we must act with great urgency to protect the American people’s most fundamental and sacred right, the right to vote,” NAACP president Derrick Johnson, who is attending the meeting with Biden, said in an emailed statement.
Harris, assigned to lead the administration’s work on voting rights, will announce expansions to a Democratic National Committee voter mobilization campaign, according to an official familiar with the matter. She was set to speak at the historically Black Howard University in the afternoon.
Last month, Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic-backed national election reform bill that would have expanded opportunities to vote before Election Day, made certain campaign contributions more transparent and reformed the process for drawing of congressional districts. Republicans said it violated states’ authority to set their own election laws.