Vice President Kamala Harris met on Wednesday with Democratic members of the Texan legislature who last month successfully defeated an election restriction law in their state, calling the group “American patriots” who had fought to uphold a fundamental democratic right.
“What we see are examples of trying to marginalize people and deprive them of a right that has already been granted. We are not asking for a right to be granted. We’re talking about conservation, ”Ms. Harris told the group in a remark made in the Roosevelt Room. “That is the civil right. And that is fundamental. “
It was the first high-profile meeting on the subject Ms. Harris has hosted since President Biden appointed her to lead the government’s extensive efforts to protect voting rights, an issue that Mr. Biden sees as central to his legacy. In a call with reporters prior to the meeting, three senior administrative officials said the Vice President was personally invested in the issue and saw herself as a beneficiary of laws, including the Voting Rights Act, that protect voting rights.
Officials gave no specific answer to how Ms. Harris’ convening of the Texas Democrats could help the White House achieve a stronger position should Republicans in the state stand together to pass an electoral law like this one Promised summer.
But the White House has repeatedly signaled that Ms. Harris will use the Vice Presidency’s “face-off” pulpit to raise awareness of draft laws in Republican-run state houses across the country designed to erode electoral protection. While visiting Greenville, SC, on Monday, Ms. Harris hosted a listening session with local activists to discuss what they are doing to get more people to register to vote locally.
“When we look at these attempts to violate people’s access to the right to vote, we know it will have an impact on the people,” Ms. Harris said in the Roosevelt Room. “Americans with disabilities, seniors, students, people from all walks of life.”
Two weeks ago, the Democrats in the Texas legislature held a dramatic night-time strike to force the failure of a major Republican overhaul of electoral law in the states. With two massive electoral laws facing dire opportunities in the Senate and Republicans of Texas swearing to pass an electoral law anyway, the group has used the newfound attention to demand federal electoral protection.
Yesterday, as part of a series of meetings aimed at garnering support for a massive federal bill on voting, Senate Democrats invited MPs to lunch to push for the bill. But one key invitee was absent: Senator Joe Manchin III. of West Virginia, which vilified the law, called the For the People Act too partisan, skipped the meeting.
At her own meeting, Ms. Harris responded to criticism that protecting voting rights was a partisan endeavor.
“We don’t tell people how to vote,” said Ms. Harris. “And, frankly, this is not a Democratic or Republican issue; This is an American problem. This is an American problem. “