© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks while hosting an event to mark the anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program at the Executive Office building in Washington, United States, on June 15, 2021. REUTERS / Carlos Barria / Fil
By Nandita Bose
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday promoted the Biden administration’s efforts to promote voting rights when she met with 16 fellow Democrats from the Texas state legislature who successfully blocked a bill. that, they said, would make it difficult for blacks and Hispanics to vote.
President Joe Biden appointed Harris this month https://reut.rs/3cHKiWs to lead the charge against Republican state legislators across the country seeking to enact voting restrictions.
The White House and civil rights groups say the Republican-led efforts would make it difficult for Americans to vote. It follows former Republican President Donald Trump’s false claim that he lost the 2020 election to Biden due to widespread fraud.
So far, 14 other US states have enacted 22 laws this year that make it difficult for Americans to vote, according to a report by the Brennan Center for Justice.
“What we are seeing are examples of an attempt to interfere with that right, an attempt to marginalize and take away from people, a right that has already been granted,” Harris said.
Democrats in the Texas House of Representatives walked out of a legislative session last month to deprive Republicans of the quorum needed to pass a voting bill. Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, has promised to bring back the legislature in a special session yet to be called.
Under the Texas proposal, direct voting would no longer be allowed, early voting would be limited, 24-hour polling places would be eliminated, and absentee ballots would be more difficult to cast.
Critics say such measures keep many black and Hispanic voters, traditional supporters of Democrats, out of the polls.
Harris plans to bring together concerned American and elected officials to build a coalition to work on voting rights and will pursue legislation that improves access to the polls, senior administration officials said.
United States Attorney General Merrick Garland has said his Justice Department will aggressively enforce voting rights https://reut.rs/3vFl4il, process threats against election officials, double the number of prosecutors dedicated to subject and take a close look at how states conduct their elections.
The United States has faced an increase in threats from white supremacists and militia groups, while the murder of George Floyd, a black man, last year by a white police officer sparked nationwide protests against racial inequality.
Voting rights are the second high-profile assignment for the vice president. In March, Biden tasked him with leading the United States’ diplomatic efforts with Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to reduce migration from the region.
Harris recently visited Mexico and Guatemala https://reut.rs/3cGRtOL as part of those efforts.
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